“A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.” —Jim Morrison
Freedom means different things to different people, such as the ability to make personal decisions in pursuit of one’s dream and to live fully and unapologetically. It is freeing to experience life’s pleasures as well as challenges. Having the spiritual freedom to embrace a purposeful and soulful life is truly a gift.
Although I am closer to the end of the road to full recovery from a life-altering experience, I still need to strengthen my focus on my emotional and mental clarity for energy to flow into my new reality. Finding a sense of balance and harmony seems to be a constant hurdle for me to conquer. But by infusing love and joy into my days, I am able to express forgiveness, elevating my mind, body and soul to experience a positive outlook on life.
Revisiting my Point B for 2023, I realize I need to devote daily “me” time even if most of life’s facets are in order at this moment. I have failed to continue writing on my journal, doing daily reflections, spiritual meditations, as well as practicing yoga because of my time spent on new relationships.
Now that I have full control of my own time, I plan to increase my self-mastery through strengthening my faith and truly assessing my new life purpose. Thanks to my bimonthly session with Eileen Juan and Vitamin CEO life coaching (check out Vitamin CEO on Facebook for details), I am more focused on moving forward in the creation of my new digital platform. World-class festival
Enjoying total solo freedom lately, I was able to hop on a private jet to enjoy festivities in Iloilo City in just a week’s notice. On invitation of SM Supermalls president Steven Tan, we headed to the City of Love for the Dinagyang Festival 2023 headed by Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas.
Coming back stronger than ever, the city mayor’s gratitude goes to all stakeholders who contributed to the success of the face-to-face world-class festival of this southern city.
“Dinagyang 2023 is beyond my expectations. I knew that everyone wanted a strong comeback after the pandemic but we did not expect this celebration. It is a complete success and it also showed that Dinagyang and our Sto. Nino are beyond politics. Everyone will be here for Dinagyang and for the progress and development of our city,” Treñas said.
He congratulated and thanked the people behind the Iloilo Festivals Foundation Inc., major copresentor of the Dinagyang Festival, for their selfless service to the city. He also gave praise to all the tribes and performers for a job well done.
Moreover, Treñas also specifically thanked all the visitors for gracing the festivities, as well as the festival’s sponsors, and all the Ilonggos for their valuable contributions, especially from the private sector like SM, who was one of the festival’s major sponsors.
For this year’s Dinagyang, SM has the biggest sponsorships to the festival. Its biggest mall in Iloilo also made history as the main judging area and the host for the opening for the first-ever Dinagyang ILOmination last weekend.
The newest Dinagyang event, which drew thousands of spectators, has brought out more of Ilonggos’ creativity and ingenuity, making Dinagyang extra exciting. A number of public officials and personalities added color and excitement to the event including Treñas, broadcast journalist Karen Davila, Youtube sensation Small Laude, former Sen. Frank Drilon, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, TV host and entrepreneur Tim Yap and yours truly.
SM Supermalls’ Steven Tan also graced two of the Dinagyang Festival’s highlights: the Dagyang sa Kabaranggayan tribes competition and the Dinagyang ILOmination.
Meanwhile, the biggest mall in the city also hosted and initiated several Dinagyang-related activities, such as the Batchoy Festival; festival costumes exhibit; a concert of different artists, including Asia’s Pop Heartthrob, Darren Espanto; and a lot more, making SM City Iloilo the ultimate destination for the best Dinagyang experience.
Two of the many foreign dignitaries who graced the Dinagyang Festival 2023 expressed their good impressions, not only to the great performances of the tribes, but to the beauty of Iloilo City as a whole.
“I love the colors and dedication of the people. Everything is perfectly organized,” said Romania Ambassador Raduta Dana Matache. She added that she would definitely be coming back to next year’s Dinagyang.
Embassy of Poland chargé d’affaires Jaroslaw Szczepankiewicz also lauded the performances of the tribes. The cleanliness of the Iloilo River and the green environment of Iloilo City impressed Szczepankiewicz.
Apart from the generous P10 million donation of SM, the SM Foundation Inc. turned over the newly upgraded pediatric ward of the West Visayas State University. First lady Liza Araneta-Marcos and Mayor Treñas cut the ribbon with Steven. Tim and I were about to visit the new ward and were quite impressed.
Freedom is a privilege that we should cherish and use wisely. Enjoying all the festivities in Iloilo made me appreciate the joy and hospitality of a very charming city. I am looking forward to discover even more cities in the Philippines, and allow myself to explore more options on my own.
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