ORBIT REFLECTION SERIES: a 40-day journey to Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos & Thailand


To celebrate my birthday, I asked my dearest friends to write me a letter which I read each day during my 40-day trip to Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand.

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Gross national happiness” is within you.

In our art tour in Bhutan, we visited an elementary school during their morning assembly. The students started chanting their morning prayer, then all of a sudden I was in tears. I didn’t understand a word, but it struck a chord in me.

Bhutan is an impossible dream, but when the timing is right, Bhutan will come to you. Being here to celebrate my orbit on earth was bound to happen. I am meant to be here. I am where I should be.

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Humility & Generosity

I watched the sun rise and the sun set on top of a temple in Bagan, Myanmar. It was a breathtaking view, I was reminded of how lucky and grateful I am to be alive.

At an alms giving ceremony to the monks, I witnessed that there is no giver and no receiver, just giving and receiving.

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“The moon is full, and so is my heart.”

In Luang Prabang, Laos, I stumbled upon a ceremony in one of the temples during the evening. It was Vesak or Buddha day, a holiday tradition observed by Buddhists. There were monks chanting and people holding candles, glowing beneath the moonlight – it was a mesmerizing sight.

On my journal I wrote – “Today is a present… Realization and inner transformation occured. Strength and power, remembered.”

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I ended my journey in Thailand where I met a buddhist nun whom I sat next to inside a bus. She told me “Today can be your last day, today is gone Tomorrow, so smile and embrace the world.”

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“The foot feels the foot when it touches the ground.”

In the countries I visited, I always had to remove my footwear to enter its sacred grounds. The weather was hot and humid, it felt like walking across burning coals, but what an experience it was to feel the earth under my feet. It kept me mindful. It kept me grounded.

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Reading the orbit letters made me feel grounded as well. There were letters that made me smile, laugh and cry. There were things I’ve forgotten and was reminded of again, things that might be difficult to say, so it was better written. I am touched by how my friends and family sees me. I am reminded of the memories we shared, also how I’ve affected their lives in some ways. I am reminded that I’ve always been a happy and positive human being. Perhaps happiness then was more personal, but now it’s more about sharing this joy with others.

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Coming Home

Coming to Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand felt like being home. I always see the Philippines in each country, I even look like a local. It felt familiar yet each experience was different. Every country I stayed in brought a lot of learnings and discoveries about myself and about the world.

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I went on this journey empty, and now I’m full…

I realized that this is the best version of me so far. I am who I am today because of the people I’ve met, the places I’ve been, the experiences I’ve been through, and because of these, I am the happiest person in this planet.

On this 40-day journey, I met travellers who asked me of my age not because I look it, but because as they say, of the wisdom I speak.  So YES I am 40! I feel beautiful, I am at my happiest, and the best Jazel I can be.


* * * More detailed stories on Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos & Thailand coming soon.



MEXICO: Dia de Muertos in Oaxaca

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The Day of the Dead is about giving respect and honouring our loved ones who passed away, but here in Mexico they do it in a festive and colourful way.

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On a dia de muertos tour arranged by my amigas, I went to the southern part of Mexico in a place called Oaxaca (wa-ha-ka). Packed in a small bus, fellow travellers and I were brought to a local public cemetery. 

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There was a stage with loud blaring speakers, a street market selling food and souvenirs, people offering us pan de muerto (a special bread during the day of the dead) and hot chocolate de oaxaca for free.

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There was a bit of pushing and shoving to get inside the cemetery.

Once inside, a sensory overload!

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Friends and families gathered around elaborately decorated graves, the air a mix of marigolds and smoke from burning candles, mourning melodies sang by hired musicians accompanied by their guitars.

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It’s like one big fiesta for the departed.

It feels good to be alive!


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On the road from the airport to the city, I see eateries and sidewalk vendors selling their wares.I see crazy drivers cutting in and zooming by. I see busy street and crazy traffic.

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The sound, the smell, the order in the chaos –  everything feels familiar.I could very well be in my city.

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Then I see colourful houses and buildings, some hand painted signs in Spanish (which I adore!!!). Okay, this is not Manila. 

Si, I am in Mexico City!

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Mexico is a place that feels like home

— but not quite.

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I’m excited to be here! I can’t wait to try out real mexican food, go gaga over their folk art, understand Frida Kahlo, and most especially to experience the Dia de Muertos.

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NYC on a budget

NEW YORK CITY ain’t cheap, but you can find ways to make the most out of your trip without really spending much. So, here are some NYC “Tipid Tips.





Find a bench or sprawl on the grass – have a picnic, read, draw, write, or in my case, watch the world go by.


A friend gave me this tip – you can see all the masterpiece here for only a dollar! So, instead of buying an entrance ticket which costs around $25, tell them you are going to give a donation instead. I was a travelling artist and out of work, so a dollar will do 😉

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Check out some Art in CHELSEA

It’s a wonderful neighborhood full of galleries. So if you love modern and contemporary art, this is the place to be, and you get to see it all for free.


* I will make another blog entry on the different exhibitions I saw on Chelsea 🙂


Continue reading “NYC on a budget”

follow your art: A YEAR AFTER

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The 1st of JUNE marks a year of my independence, a year of just following my heART…I may not be as stable financially, but I am at my happiest.

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I am grateful to be able to eat food that fills me up with joy, to still be able to ride cabs when needed be, to have my nest that I adore, to have a place in my heaven on earth to create…

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To be humbled by people who entrusts me to do things and also earn from it, to no longer be enticed by retail shopping, to be able to live simply, to hang out and have inspiring conversations with kindred spirits, to be able to realize a concept and collaborate with so many artists…

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To still be able to travel, to have all this time to just follow my he/art, to have supportive friends and family, and to have the privilege to be a full-time heArtist.

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There’s a lot to be thankful for. I feel very blessed.


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May the fire in me keep burning,

like this clockwork orange skies outside my window.