*FAITH, Books, Relationships, Reviews

Just a (Royal) Thought: “Spare” by Prince Harry

So, I finished reading Spare by Prince Harry in just three days. Those close to me know that I’ve always been an Anglophile ever since I was young (I used to joke that I could pass as someone who graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in History, Major in Royal Studies – if there ever was one! LOL!) — mostly due to my childhood crush on Prince William, which then transitioned to my admiration for his wife, Kate Middleton… then I visited the U.K. in 2016 and somehow my Anglophilia subsided after that. Add to that binge-watching The Crown on Netflix and suddenly, my overall “fairytale” view on the British Royal Family faded slowly.

I realized that I became fascinated with the British royal family because on the outside, they were the epitome of living the ideal (if not perfect) life. Blame it on Disney for adding fuel to my already burning interest for princes and princesses while growing up! But if there’s one thing I learned about the royal family, they’re just like any other family – imperfect, with human beings (sometimes borderline “human doings”) as family members, and a little bit dysfunctional just like the rest of us. And I don’t mean this in a bad way because truth betold, we’re all “broken” in one way or another.

“They can’t break me, I thought. Is it, I wondered, because I’m already broken?”

from “Spare” by Prince Harry

And that’s basically the overall theme I got from reading this book: brokenness. Ever heard of the term “hurt people, hurt people”? It was obvious that Prince Harry has unresolved issues and trauma within his family (all the way back from his childhood), especially because of what happened to his late mother, Princess Diana (may she rest in peace).

Prince Harry is a hurt person (aren’t we all?) and writing this book is somehow a way for him to cope. But since that “hurt” isn’t completely healed yet, he somehow “hurt” others, too, along the way — especially his family, the royal family, unfortunately.

I picked up this book because as mentioned, I’ve always been interested in the British royal family (albeit not as interested as before). What I liked about the book is first, as Prince Harry claims it, the source is himself — straight from the horse’s mouth although ghostwritten by another author. He talked about his unresolved grief about his mother’s death, his military experience, his relationship with his family (current King Charles III which he calls Pa; Prince William which he calls Willy; and the late queen, Queen Elizabeth II, which he calls Granny — may she rest in peace as well), his love story with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their growing family, and of course, his unending anger toward the British press (referred to as “paps” in the book, short for “paparazzi”). I find everything in the book relatable — even though he’s from the royal family, Prince Harry definitely gave me a glimpse of how imperfect his life is, how imperfect being a royal is — and that’s okay because yes, at the end of the day, they’re still just human beings like the rest of the world when stripped off of those titles, wealth, and whatnot. Plus, I valued my status as a “private citizen” more after reading all about his horrible experience caused by the media (and yet many people still chase after fame in this day and age — be careful what you wish for!).

Then there’s the part that I don’t like: well, it’s basically the underlying (or maybe unconscious?) motive of revenge on his own family members through words. As a devout Roman Catholic striving everyday (you know this blog’s theme, right?), I truly believe in Sr. Lucia dos Santos‘ message that the “decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family.” Yes, MARRIAGE and the FAMILY. Just look at what’s happening in our broken world today. And well, Prince Harry sure did prove this message with the way he wrote his book. Then again, we already established the fact that hurt people have a tendency to hurt others in return; I can only pray for Prince Harry that his acknowledgment of his brokenness (see quote above) will truly pave the way for his healing — and despite a very challenging feat by the looks of it, reconciliation with his royal family members… eventually.

Okay, the aforementioned “battle” needs to be discussed in another post altogether. I suggest you read Prince Harry‘s memoir, Spare, with an open mind to get a glimpse on his struggles and whatnot. However, if you end up hating and even blaming him or any of his family members after reading the book (which is quite the tendency), maybe just offer a prayer for them. I’m not one to impose my faith and religion on another person because that is a unique and personal journey for each of us. This isn’t about taking sides nor supporting this and that because at the end of the day, who are we to judge? We all have our daily struggles to begin with. So if you can’t pray for them, maybe just remember that not. one. of. us. is perfect and just like us, Prince Harry and the British royal family have their own struggles to deal with. It’s just unfortunate for them that they’ve been public figures from the time they were born.

At the end of it all, it all comes down to LOVE. That’s all we seek, really. It just so happens that in our imperfect and broken world, we search for love without realizing that we’re looking in all the wrong places and outlets. Hence, the vicious cycle of brokenness across generations. So help us God. *hint, hint*


“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; those who choose one shall eat its fruit.’”
-Proverbs 18:21

The World (TRAVEL)

Singapore 2022: First International Travel since the Pandemic Started

Whew! After all the things that happened in the past (almost) three years no thanks to the pandemic, it was a breath of fresh air to finally travel again! 🙂

This trip was actually my fourth visit to the Lion City, which is another term for Singapore (my last was in 2011 — more than a decade already!). Of the 23 countries I’ve been to, Singapore was actually the second country I visited when I was still young (the first was Hong Kong).

If you knew me pre-pandemic and when I was still single, you’d know that I loved (emphasis on the past tense LOL) to travel. But A LOT has changed in both my personal life and “travel” life since then, if I may say.

My last international trip prior to this was in Japan in 2019.

In 2020, I got married in February and gave birth in December (relax, my son was conceived in wedlock — just do the math! haha). And oh, the first lockdown in the Philippines happened the following month after our wedding!

In 2021, I was still adjusting to my new roles as both a wife and a mother, as well as still getting used to the “new normal” — so no, I wasn’t really in the mood to travel.

Fast forward to this year, 2022, well, the world is slowly opening up again as more and more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and safety measures ease up. And yes, Singapore was probably the first and nearest first-world country to the Philippines that welcomed travelers again. However, traveling isn’t as easy as before because of the additional requirements. Luckily though, when we went to Singapore, COVID-19 tests and quarantine weren’t required anymore (both in Singapore and the Philippines) as long as one already has a booster shot (yes, the primary series or first/second doses aren’t enough). Having said that…

Here are the travel requirements to Singapore, as of this writing:

Of course! No one can travel abroad without this! I’m just including this here because me, my husband, and my son just had our DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) passport renewal/application appointment less than a month before this trip. Despite the odds, we made it! Our passports arrived on time. Haha!

But if you’re Filipino, I suggest you book an earlier appointment at DFA before your trip because their schedule is quite tricky. *hint, hint*

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination (certificate with QR code)
For Filipinos vaccinated in the Philippines, this is what we call the VaxCertPH. If you got vaccinated in another country, that’s okay as long as you can present a vaccination certificate with a QR code (the vaccination card or ID isn’t sufficient).

*Visa (depends on citizenship)
Just like any country, a visa is required *depending on one’s citizenship and/or purpose of travel*. For Filipinos like me, a visa isn’t required to enter Singapore for tourism purposes thanks to the ASEAN agreement. 😉

Airline tickets
Once you have proof of vaccination, you may already book any flight to and from Singapore.

TraceTogether app
This is Singapore’s tool for their contact tracing. You need to download this before you arrive at Singapore, but you can only activate it once you’re cleared by Singapore’s immigration.

Arrival card
This is a digital version already which can be accessed on a website or app (unlike in the old days when they hand out paper copies during the flight). This needs to be submitted as early as three days before your arrival in Singapore.

For more information, you can always check out https://www.visitsingapore.com/.

Easy peasy, no? However, once you’re in Singapore and you have a toddler in tow — that’s a whole different ball game (I’m speaking from experience! HA HA HA). Let’s just say that you need to think twice if you will travel abroad with a toddler! Or just wait until they get older. 😛

Kidding aside, I’m still grateful I was able to travel with my husband, son, and family. I believe that this was a blessing from God and despite the challenging nature of our trip, I still brought home not just unforgettable memories but also life lessons that will be with me for a lifetime.

Sooo. Where to next? 😀


“And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.”
-Luke 13:29

*FAITH, *MOTHERHOOD, Beauty and Wellness

Keeping It Real: Let’s Talk about Mental Health

How are you?

Me, so-so to be honest. And no, it’s not just about the elections. Since last year, I’ve already been feeling something different and it was only this year that I had the courage to finally face it and start my way to recovery. After all, acknowledgment is the first step to healing. So here I am, sharing my story.

I’ve been experiencing occasional panic attacks and recently diagnosed with a panic disorder. It was almost a year ago when I first experienced symptoms: hyperventilation, lightheadedness, feeling panicked and unsafe — the trigger? Mostly when I’m alone and away from my comfort zone (home, familiar faces, daily routine, etc.). Like when I’m trying to have “me time” at the mall, driving by myself, doing errands, etc. At first, I wasn’t aware that I was having panic attacks, I just thought that maybe it was all part of my postpartum phase in life, hormones doing their usual thing, and kind of shrugged it off.

Pre-pandemic, I was the kind of person very happy and content with myself. Like I considered my “me time” sacred — spending hours doing my own thing, even watching movies in theaters all by myself! That’s why when I felt the first symptoms of a panic attack last year (which at that time, I didn’t have a name for it ’cause I wasn’t aware), I knew that something was up. And then it happened again the following month, and again, and again, you know the drill. Which led me to Dr. Google (lol), and that’s when I did the one thing most medical experts wouldn’t recommend: self diagnose! Haha! But maybe I really know myself well because when I finally consulted a clinical psychologist, turns out, I was right. Hence the panic disorder diagnosis. Once that was finally determined, the only thing left to do is manage it, not be in denial, and hopefully, go back to my usual “independent” self one day at a time.

I wanted to have the best of both worlds so I consulted both a clinical psychologist (for the psychological and scientific explanation) AND a Catholic healing minister friend (for the spiritual side). As of this writing, I’m in on-going consultations with my psych, learning coping mechanisms and whatnot (which I may or may not write in another blog post); my friend also prayed over me (and continues to pray for me). I was told that one of the root causes of my panic attacks was having trauma when I gave birth alone (due to the pandemic protocols). Add to that the overall pandemic effect, postpartum hormones, major life changes (hello motherhood!), and my lingering abandonment issues which can be traced back to childhood (you’ll be surprised to know that most of our “issues” as adults can be traced back to that) — listing all that does make sense why I am where I am now in terms of my mental health.

I know I still have a long way to go. WE all have a long way to go to achieve “normalcy” again in our day-to-day life. My only point in sharing this is to let others who are also experiencing the same know that they’re not alone. And that it’s okay not to be okay sometimes. Heck, acknowledging that you’re not okay is actually a way for you to eventually be okay. Mental health matters now more than ever! So if you’re still shy about it, I hope you’ll eventually find the courage not to be. I know that each person processes things differently and at their own pace (that’s why it’s really NOT helpful to tell someone to “just get over it”), but I believe that we can overcome every challenge life throws at us and come out stronger each and every single time. At the end of the day, believe that the good always outweighs the bad.

Most importantly, God always has a plan for everything. And that’s what faith is all about, walking alongside God despite experiencing the things we don’t like and we don’t have control of. After all, He didn’t promise a pain-free life. Even Jesus experienced His own sorrowful moments, but it was in those moments that He gave birth to new life and saved us all from eternal darkness.

So yes, my current mental health is probably a cross I’m tasked to carry on my shoulders for now. I can only pray that it’ll be a cross that can help shed light not just to myself, but to others as well. If that’s really the case, then so be it. 🙂


“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—oracle of the Lord—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.”
-Jeremiah 29:11