When Letting Go Lets You Grow

Last 2017, I spent an average of 7 hours a day online. 7 hours a day, 2,555 hours in one year, or 106 days. That’s almost a third of my year invested in the social online world! Tonight, I will not state a list of goals that I plan to achieve this 2018. Instead, I will be sharing one thing that I won’t be doing this year. I have decided to let go of Facebook and Instagram for 365 days. Why? So I can grow.

Now, for my online friends, this might come as a surprise because I am known as someone who posts anything any time of the day. But, according to Peter Tan-Chi, “How you spend your time shows what you think is important.” If I spend time taking a bath and brushing my teeth in the morning, then I believe that having good hygiene is needed. In the same way, if I spend 7 hours of my day on Facebook, then I must think that being online is important. Although, I should say that going on Facebook has its benefits too, such as remembering others’ birthdays and communicating with friends.

However, I have noticed that too much hours spent online caused me to experience more of its cons than its pros. Instead of me pursuing dreams and developing skills, I’ve invested in the thrill of seeing my posts reach a certain number of likes, comments, and shares. And if I didn’t get any notifications, then that would make me wonder about my self-worth. But, I bet if Facebook didn’t have the like or react button feature, it would probably change the way people post or spend their time online.

Too much time on Facebook and Instagram also discouraged me to be content with my life. Whenever friends online would go to places I couldn’t afford to go to or reach certain milestones such as earning millions of pesos, getting promoted, etc., it would sting my heart. As a result, I realized that if I am not careful with how I use my time online, eventually, I would end up feeling sorry for myself and my lack of progress. Unfortunately, this is a danger that social media has on our generation and it’s something not a lot of people talk about.

So, this 2018, I am finally being honest with myself and I will choose to let it go for now. If I log off of Facebook and Instagram for 365 days, how exactly will it help me grow? Well, let me share with you these three things that I think will personally help me:

FIRST: DEVELOP SKILLS

Having 7 extra hours in a day would give me a lot of time to develop skills such as writing, preparing travel itineraries, working out, starting a business, and many more! In those 106 days, imagine how many fruit-bearing plants I can grow, books I can finish, recipes I can conquer in the kitchen, and songs I can make! The list is endless if only I set aside time for these productive activities.

 

SECOND: DISCOVER MYSELF

Instead of constantly being reminded by others’ travel goals or milestones, I will have more time to think of what I have and what my purpose is in life. Discovering ones true self online is like studying for an exam at a rock concert. You can try, but it will be very difficult to do so, especially since you’ll be surrounded with so many opinions, pressures, and filters to become someone you’re not. But, if we quiet ourselves and take time to recall and appreciate how God has blessed us with unique strengths, skills, and dreams. Oh, what a difference it would make!

 

LASTLY: DEVELOP REAL RELATIONSHIPS

One worry that I had was “Oh no! I won’t be able to interact with people anymore! I won’t be updated with their lives!” But, as I thought about it, it made me laugh. “Of course, you can still interact with them, Nicole. You can give them a call, invite them for dinner, or go to out-of-town trips!” I think being online for the longest time helped me develop friendships only at a certain shallow level.

Out of the many friends I have online, how many of them do I really know? I just interact with most of them by clicking on the like button or by greeting them on their birthdays! Being offline would help me be creative and resourceful in meeting people face-to-face and developing deeper relationships with them. There’s something nice about looking at a friend in the eyes and walking with them as you get to share life’s struggles and sweetest victories together. Now, that’s something you don’t always get to experience online.

Developing skills, discovering myself, and developing real relationships. I believe these three things are more than enough reasons for me to let go of Facebook and Instagram for 365 days. Yes, at first, this might be a crazy and challenging idea. But, I am reminded that how I spend my time shows what I think is important to me. This 2018, I believe that it is crucial for me to finally grow.

And so, I will let go.

Today marks my nineteeth day since I have logged off of my Facebook account and so far, it has been both a struggle and a breath of fresh air for me. Here’s to the next 346 days!

8 Things to Consider before Going to Laiya Coco Grove

On the weekend of my birthday, I decided to book a room at a resort in Laiya since I was attending a wedding in the area too. I found numerous affordable and expensive resorts along Laiya, Batangas. But, what caught my attention about Laiya Coco Grove was their unique accommodation. They offered rooms inside beautiful treehouses. Thankfully, there were still available slots a week before my birthday.

I booked an overnight stay at the Couple Room Treehouse. I was supposed to go there alone, but my sister decided the night before that she would join me. Inside Laiya Coco Grove, you’ll also have the option of staying inside the cabin rooms or dormitories which are much cheaper. But, do note that they have shared facilities with other guests. I preferred to stay at the Treehouse room since it seemed like a better adventure for me. Haha!

If you’re thinking of visiting Laiya Coco Grove, here are some of the things you may want to consider:

1. It is a 4-hour drive from Manila

This includes your time for stopovers. You can either go to the resort via private car (which can be searched using the Waze app) or by public transportation (directions seen in the photo below). My sister and I travelled via car, while my brother followed via public transportation (Bus-Van-Jeep). If you’ll be commuting, it’s safe to leave an hour earlier so that you’ll have extra time for queues.

My brother mentioned that the directions given by the resort were more or less accurate. One tip, though, is that the bus can drop you off at SM Lipa where you’ll find vans heading towards San Juan Public Market. Also, upon reaching the market, you might have to ask where the jeepneys to the resorts are. They’re not easily seen in the area. Regarding the exact directions on commuting back to Manila, you may try to ask Coco Grove via email. Sorry, I don’t have any experience on this. Most likely, it will be via jeep, van, and bus again.

 

2. The staff members are nice and polite.

From the time we passed through their main gate to the time we checked in our rooms, we were greeted by smiling staff members at the resort. Also, when we had an issue with the loose door knob at our treehouse, their mechanic immediately fixed it.

 

3. Wi-fi signal is very poor

We were able to connect to their Wi-Fi, but we couldn’t load anything online. We had to use our mobile data (3G at most) for the duration of our stay. But, the good thing about this is it gives you a very relaxing time at the beach. No Wi-Fi, no worries. Haha! Just make sure you finish researching everything you need when you’re still in the city.

 

4. Their food was average

The meals they provided during the buffet times were just okay. They did not taste bad, but they also weren’t excellent for me. Don’t expect much if you’ll avail their buffet meals. Do note that buffet meals are REQUIRED in the treehouse packages. In a buffet meal, you’ll expect to see one type of fruit juice, soup, and dessert. You’ll also have three to four options of viands with rice and a set of condiments. Drinking water is also available. Brewed coffee is served only during breakfast.

I requested for fresh buko juice twice, but unfortunately, they denied me twice since they didn’t have staff members who could safely go up the trees and get fresh ones. It was too risky since it was raining that weekend. Oh well. We bought fruit juices in cans instead. Haha!

Breakfast – 7:00 am to 9:00 am
Lunch – 12:00 nn to 2:00 pm
Dinner – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

 

5. The couple treehouse room was the best part about it!

It’s not everyday that you get to sleep inside a room with a huge trunk in it. Unless of course, you’re blessed with a treehouse in your area. Hehe. But for me, it was my first time to experience it. We didn’t need to turn on the air-conditioner during our first day and night because it was raining. So, the weather was cool. But, the next day, it was bright and sunny! So, turning it on at that time was very useful.

The room includes windows, a mirror, small cabinet which has bottles of water and coffee cups. It also has a bed for two people, a side table, and a comfort room complete with a shower (with heater), toilet, sink, and mirror. It also has a small balcony with a table and two chairs overlooking the beachfront. Moreover, when you go down the steps, you’ll see an area with a few more tables, chairs, and a log where you can hang out.

They provide an umbrella inside the room and a bidet spray before you go up the steps, so you can wash the sand off. One downside to sleeping in the treehouse is it sometimes shakes. We noticed this when the wind became stronger. It still is sturdy, but if you have motion sickness, you might feel a slight discomfort at first.

 

6. The resort has two sections

First: The Main Resort

This includes the treehouses, cabins, and dormitories for overnight stays. It also has a small beachfront area, cafeteria, trampoline, swimming pool, game area (with billiards and pingpong), chapel, public restrooms, bar area, and parking.

 

Second: The White Beach Extension

The resort provides a free shuttle to and from the extension until 6pm. It is a 2-minute drive from the main resort. It has a bigger beachfront area and it has around 10 cabanas where you can stay. They also provide a net for beach volleyball.

This is the part of the resort where you can rent jetskis and banana boats to go around the area. They have other water activities such as parasailing and snorkling. But, I don’t really recommend snorkling in Laiya since you may not see much as compared to snorkling in Palawan and other provinces.

 

7. The sand is finer compared to other resorts in Laiya

I’ve tried the Acuatico resort in Laiya before. The grains of sand in Acuatico are bigger and rougher compared to the sand in Laiya Coco Grove. You’ll enjoy walking along the shore and digging your feet in the sand in Coco Grove than in Acuatico (and the other resorts beside it). Of course, Acuatico has other better features but that’s a different story. Do note that the sand area in Coco Grove did have trash, unfortunately. From wrappers of candies and empty packs of sinigang mix to lost slippers and body bags washed on the shore.

 

8. The views inside Laiya Coco Grove are very photogenic

I’ll let the photos below support my statement. Hahaha! Despite the gloomy weather during our stay, I did enjoy taking photos around the place. I love how it’s filled with coconut trees and treehouses. It certainly was a peaceful and relaxing getaway! If you’ll go there during the summer, the resort will probably have more guests. During our stay, only four groups were staying at the resort, so it felt very private.

To the management of Laiya Coco Grove, if ever you’re reading this, I enjoyed my stay. But, hopefully, you can improve in providing useful Wi-Fi connection, better meals, cleaner shore, and availability of fresh buko juice. Haha! I really wanted to have buko juice at the beach.