Life is full of choices and more often than not, we are left paralyzed as to what decision to take next. As much as life is a never-ending road of lessons that needs to be travelled so we can move on to the next higher level, many of us choose to stay where we are simply because we are just too lazy or even scared to take responsibility for the challenging consequences that our new choices might bring. We’d rather stay in our comfort zones and revel in there. Anyway, we feel okay, so why bother?
I was in that zone once and it took a while for me to get up, pop the bubble I was in and jump to a new adventure. And when I finally did, so many exciting events and learnings happened that I think just made me a better and happier person now. It involved a lot of saying no to opportunities, people and events that no longer matter in the greater scheme of things and it involves saying yes to a lot of new and scary stuff. And I wouldn’t be this happy had I not taken that big leap towards this life I’m now living.
So how did it come to this? What did I do? How does one take the big leap of their life?
I’m actually staring at my computer screen, sort of paralyzed as to how to tell my story. This is what happens to me when I have a gazillion things I want to share. My life has drastically changed so much that I’m just so excited to share everything with you but I honestly don’t know where to start! Blame it to my OCness. I want to share my experiences according to its proper order from start to finish but I guess that’s just one of the things I have to eventually change about myself as well — be less OC, go with the flow, do flashbacks and throwbacks instead and just follow my heart!
Give me a moment here to relax a bit as I try to center myself… Ohmmmm… (3-minute meditation ensues)…
Okay. This will be a bit of a long post with follow-up posts after. So sit back, relax, enjoy, have a Kitkat and learn from the 8 steps I took in making that big leap.
1. RECOGNIZE The Eureka Moment
Let’s go back to last New Year’s, January first, when Mahal declared that this will be our year and posted about it on his Facebook.
I didn’t fully understand what that meant yet but as his loyal and supportive life partner, I was all for it no matter what. I trust him; I trust his instincts. He has always been good to me and our baby so I know he wouldn’t do anything that will hurt us.
Suffice it to say that it was the day that Mahal learned about mushrooms and told me “Mahal, ito na magpapayaman satin! (Mahal, this is what will make us rich!)” Again, I was kind of perplexed. Of course most people would want to be rich, right? But he is not just talking about millionaire rich, but billionaire rich! Woah! Okay, okay, hold your horses! This is a bit too much! Then he explained to me about the mushrooms and how he envisions us to be the future mushroom supplier of the Philippines and other neighboring countries (going international, yes!) As the saying goes “Mangangarap ka na rin lang, taasan mo na! Para pag lumagpak ka, mejo nasa taas ka pa rin. (If you were to dream, dream big! So if you were to fall, you’re still somewhere up there.)”
So I listened to his plans and got quite excited. There are still so many things to learn, so many things to do and being a realist, and a conservative risk taker, I just supported him with all of my heart even if my mind did not fully comprehend the reality of it yet. To add some more support, I started making real estate ads online. We had to put up my townhouse for rent if we were to have funds for this new dream of ours.
I love my house soooo much! It’s my first baby! It’s a product of my own sweat, blood and tears! But I love him more. So yes, with tears in my eyes, I did it. Yep, this is definitely true love. He gave up his Norway dreams for me. So I’m giving up living in my first dream house for him.
2. START DIPPING YOUR TOES inTO YOUR DREAMS (MUSHROOM GROWING)
So that same month, January, Mahal attended a mushroom training seminar and invested in 10 fruiting bags just to see if it will work. Then off we went to Oslob, Cebu for a 9-day vacation to celebrate his birthday and his mom’s birthday as well.
When we came back, some of the fruiting bags had already produced mushrooms. We got excited! We wanted to try some more! But then we got busy with my good friend Koryn’s wedding and our little vacation up in Tagaytay.
So come February, we went to Myrna Tamba’s mushroom house in Cavite. She’s the lady who became a millionaire because of these mushrooms and was featured on TV. She’s been doing this for ten years if I’m not mistaken and she’s giving out seminars as well. You can check her FB profile here: https://web.facebook.com/myrnz.tamba.
We invested in 500 fruiting bags of oyster mushrooms and turned our lovely backyard into a mushroom growing room just to get a feel for it. Start small as they say.
Mahal, having had a background in agriculture — he used to plant tomatoes with his brother and sold them by the tons in the market, he has a coffee farm and delved into tobacco plantation as well; his family owns hectares of land in Mindanao, some of which he inherited and are just lying there not being used — the whole process was easy for him. I documented everything we did (to be shared later on a post solely dedicated for mushroom farming at home) and soon, we were already selling mushrooms and crispy mushrooms to friends via our Facebook profile pages. It was a hit!
Our mushrooms kept producing even when we were in Subic for a weekend at the International Balloon Fest 2017 (Feb. 11-12) and even when we were in Puerto Galera for 5 days to celebrate my 39th birthday (Feb. 18-22). When we came back from all these vacations, the mushroom fruiting bags were still all okay. Mahal had set them up in a way that the temperature and humidity would be best for the mushrooms so things worked out well.
Having mushrooms to take care of in our little growing room at home didn’t stop us from still doing what we love most which is to travel. So come March 7-15, we were able to stay in Boracay for another much needed vacation while our mushrooms continue to grow at home. We just taught my parents how to take care of it during their free time so while we’re gone everything will still turn out fine. And it did! It was the perfect hobby-turned-biz as long as you know how to set it up properly (again this will be on another post solely for growing mushrooms at home)!
3. STUDY YOUR OPTIONS (The Great Farm Search)
For the month of April, we had plans of touring our family’s lands in Mindanao to see where our future mushroom farm can eventually be formally based. It would be a month-long road trip from Luzon to Mindanao and we were not sure if the mushrooms at home can survive that long without our care. So we had to transfer our fruiting bags to my brother’s place so he and my nephews can take care of it for us while we were on the road.
That was one of the best road trip vacations we had and I’ll tell you all about it on another post. Just to summarize, aside from the tourist spots we explored along the way, we visited our 7-acre farm in Bukidnon, our 26-hectare ancestral land in Surigao and Mahal’s family’s farms in Misamis Oriental.
The important thing is we already had an idea then where we would eventually set up our very first mushroom growing house. It will now be a GROWING HOUSE this time and not just a GROWING ROOM like the one we set up in our backyard in Alabang. We were excited!
4. STAY STILL AND LEARN HOW TO SACRIFICE WHEN NECESSARY
During the months of May and June, Mahal researched and studied about the mushrooms non-stop! He shared everything he learned with me and he documented everything. He only stopped when we were in Manila Zoo last June 7 to relax. And since we haven’t found any suitable tenants for my house yet, we had to stay put. Everyday, we prayed that we would already find tenants for our home so we can begin materializing our dreams. We prayed so hard everyday. Until one day, it happened which I blogged about here: THE BIG MOVE PART 1
So, by the last week of June, we were doing one week of sleepless nights packing our stuff!
By July, our tenants already moved in my townhouse, advance payments were made, we were already taking care of storing my tons of stuff and we were already preparing for our big move down south. We only rested when we visited Subic to show Tuz the Dinosaur Park and Zoocobia and to attend Fernando’s birthday party in Clark. After that, it was back to preparation mode.
It was an exciting and stressful time! We couldn’t start the road trip yet because of previously scheduled commitments. So we lived in a 12sqm. bedroom in my Aunt’s house for about 2 months after that while the rest of our stuff was stored in my parents’ house. I was having skin rashes all over because I wasn’t used to living in such a very small space. But it was a necessary sacrifice. So I endured. As long as the three of us are together, no matter where we are, then we are home. ❤
Good thing we still had one big vacation to do before the ultimate move. We were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last Aug. 14-18. After that, we had a week to do last-minute preparations then we were off to do the ultimate road trip of our lifetime!
5. GET MOVING
If last April, we did the Sorsogon route from Luzon to Mindanao, this time, we did the Caticlan route so we can drop by Boracay for 2 nights for my dad. He has never been there and we wanted him to experience the island. Anyway, I’ll tell you more about this one big road trip on another post. (Dami ko ng utang! Hahaha!)
Suffice it to say that after almost 10 days of road tripping and sight seeing Boracay-Iloilo-Bacolod-Cebu-Cagayan de Oro, we are now here in the mountains of northern Mindanao, building our first mushroom house. What a long trip to get here! But it is exciting nonetheless as we are just getting started with our real journey.
6. ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL AND LEARN TO SEE THE BRIGHT SIDE
From a 2-storey, 4-bedroom, 3 t&b, townhouse in Alabang complete with the most modern amenities, we are now living in a 22 sqm. pad down the mountains. At least it’s bigger than the 12sqm room we stayed at for two months prior to moving here. Hehehe.
Suffice it to say that I really left my old life to be with my Mahal. We’re kind of living a minimilist life. 90% of my stuff were left behind in Manila. We just brought what can fit inside our car. When we moved in, our super tiny pad is disorganized with our stuff strewn across the floor (mostly my books, hehehe). I have been looking at Pinterest for tiny pad designs and my skills were definitely challenged by our 22sqm space.
No matter, we have to start somewhere. Even Matt Damon and Ben Afleck used to sleep on the floor of a friend’s house before they became who they are now. A little bit of sacrifice will go a long way in the future. Soon, things will only get better.
Right now, our space here down the mountains is kind of cute and I loved the way it all turned out, thanks to Pinterest. We live here half the time and half of the time we’re up in the mountains where Mahal’s hectares of lands are located. His family has an old farm house there where their caretakers are. We stay with them when we’re not in our pad. We hike; we enjoy the thick fog; we discover insects and animals I’ve never seen before… It’s a pretty exciting outdoor life!
We’re out most of the time especially now that the carpenters have started building our mushroom house. This is projected to contain 10,000 mushroom fruiting bags of different varieties. All the other stuff needed are also now in the works – the barrels where the cooking of the sawdust will be done, the inoculation chamber, the incubation space, etc. For the whole thing to be finished, it will probably take a month or two. In the meantime, I can now do my workout (by walking up and down the mountain) and try this fitness routine given to me by cptsonline.co.uk (will share this with you too if the workout turns out successful for me), write my thoughts, reflect and share our travel stories here with you and do things I haven’t done before provided that Tuz won’t deplete all my energy when I’m not assisting Mahal.
Should the first growing house become successful (and we expect that it will with God’s grace and blessings), we will soon build another growing house and will just keep building some more. This will provide job opportunities to locals in the area, especially the farmers who have lost income because of a failed tobacco plantation project. We’re excited to bring this opportunity to them should everything turn out well.
7. know that there is always more
Speaking of opportunities, Mahal has another parcel of land perfect for dragon fruit farming. Yep, aside from mushrooms, we will also delve into dragon fruit farming.
He came across dragon fruits when we were in Zoocobia last July. Our tour guide was so thankful for the tip we gave him that he gave us a cutting of dragon fruit and told us a bit how to plant it. Since Mahal is a lover of plants (he also does bonsai when he has extra time), he immediately researched about dragon fruits when we came home and got very interested to the point that we visited a dragon fruit farm in Bulacan back in August so he can imitate it when we build our own dragon fruit farm here in Mindanao.
The name of the dragon fruit farm we visited in Bulacan is Three Lucky Mountains. The owner, Sir Richard, is very accommodating and gregarious. He entertained all of our questions and taught us what he knows. He is so generous with his knowledge and we love that about him! That was why we got even more excited, especially Mahal, that we bought more than P3,000 worth of cuttings which we brought here with us in the mountains and are now currently being taken care of to produce roots before finally planting them. And like Sir Richard, we want to be like him too — generous and kind and so down to earth!
In the meantime, we did an ocular of the land where we plan to set up our dragon fruit farm. Then moving forward, we will also be building a farm resort here (God-willing!) because the view of the mountains and the waterfall from afar is just so amazing!
8. ACKNOWLEDGE THAT EVERYDAY IS A BLESSING
All these wonderful things, plans and ideas, these are all blessings from God and we are thankful to Him each passing day. It’s just so amazing how we got to where we are now — me from being a city girl to a farm girl, life totally turned 180 degrees and I’m not complaining.
Our activities these days include walking up and down the hilly and muddy terrain of the forest and mountains, bathing at a far-off stream literally flowing with pure mineral drinking water, harvesting fruits and vegetables, cooking the harvested vegetables, all the while working on our dreams. It’s a wonderful feeling!
And whenever we miss the city’s vibe, we just head down the mountains like what we did when we recently celebrated our anniversary:
If there’s one thing that I’m not enjoying from my new life now, it’s my skin. My face has been having mild rashes and pimple outbreak, maybe from all the changes I’m experiencing – change of residence, change in weather, change in activities. Then lo and behold, how very timely it is when dbeauteebox.com.ph emailed me about trying their skin products, particularly this set of White Label Premium Placenta facial beauty products which just came in the mail. I’ll share about this soon.
In the meantime, we continue to live our day-to-day life in the boondocks. We’ve learned along the way that when you make a decision (whether it be in business, relationships or other aspects of your life), and once you stick to that decision and fully commit yourself to it 110%, things will not only fall into place and become easier, but you will also be happy… happier even… finally.
Our life right now is still a work in progress though. There is still so much more to be done. But we are committed to the progress and challenges that will come our way. Everything else that happens on the side, especially good things, are ultimately just bonuses from God. And for everything that has happened and will continue to happen, we thank Him in advance.
How about you? Have you taken any big leaps lately? How was it? What steps did you take?
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