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My Cup of Tea: Stop Abusing Animals for Tourism!

I love traveling, exploring new places, meeting people and learning from them. However, if there is anything that I hate the most, it is animal cruelty especially for the sake of tourism. From petting a lion to feeding milk to tigers, swimming with whales and riding elephants, I don't support them at all.

Unless I am a hundred percent sure that the animals people use for tourism are being taken well care of, I will not put any of those 'exotic' adventures in my itinerary. Just recently, Sambo, an elephant used to transport tourists died of heart attack in Angkor Wat from being overworked.

PETA said in a post, "Reports say that Sambo was being forced to ferry tourists to the largest religious monument in the world, Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. Temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, and there was not even so much as a breeze to cool her. Overworked and overheated, she succumbed to the punishing conditions and is believed to have suffered a heart attack. She collapsed beside a road and died, and passersby reportedly wept over her body."

The worse part is the fact that when animals are not being used for tourism, they are chained as if they are criminals in prison. The tigers used for selfies are beaten down just to be still. You are not doing them a favor when you feed them milk. They have mothers to do that for them. You may look like the adventurous girl to others when you are pictured beside a wild animal such as elephants, but to me, you look like the person who adds hell to their lives on earth.

I have been to Okunoshima Island in Japan wherein tourists went to see thousands of rabbits dwelling in there. But, the rabbits in the island are free to roam around, get food for themselves and live with the nature. Nobody is putting pressure on them. They are just there - thousands of them. We did feed them, but they came near us wholeheartedly - no beatings needed for them to sit still.

Choose which kinds of tourist spots you delve into. Do not give into the notion that you need to ride elephants when you visit Angkor Wat or you need to pet tigers in Thailand or Africa. Islam suggested that we travel to awe ourselves of the generosity of the Almighty. But we are not allowed to abuse other creations just to make ourselves look good in this world.

So please! Let us be responsible travelers. Crash out those items in your itinerary and bucket lists that include animal abuse.

How to Plan Your Next Travel

We all love to travel. Who doesn’t want to see new places, meet new people, experience new culture and humble oneself with the beauty of the world that The Creator made it to be? 

However, planning for a travel can be really painstakingly hard, unless you are that person who would rather enjoy the surprises of another land. But, of course, you still need to plan some parts of the travel, despite wanting the thrill of the unknown. 

Picking travel dates and destination
Planning your travel starts with the dates inclusive for the trip. You will need to look at the calendar for non-busy days that you can use for relaxation and vacation. Most of the people tend to book flights on holidays because of work and studies. However, take into consideration that this is the peak season. And fare is at its highest during peak season. That is why others prefer to travel during non-holidays to get the lowest flight rate. Travel dates are also important in order to pick the lowest possible fare. If you are already sure to travel at the said date, it is important that you book tickets ahead of time to get low rates. 

Your destination is as important as your travel date. You may need to research on the culture and other important matters of your destination, especially if you are Muslim, as you need to know if there are halal restaurants you can eat at. Your travel destination will also be crucial in packing your luggage and how much baggage allowance you will purchase. 

Planning your itinerary
Your research about the destination and dates of your travel will most likely affect your itinerary. This is the answer to the following questions:
  1. What do you want to do in your chosen destination?
  2. Are you meeting with someone in these places and time?
  3. Which places in the destination that you want to physically visit?
  4. How much time will you allot to each activity and place that you want to do and visit?
  5. And, so on!

As cliche as it sounds, you need to plan your budget. If you are on a tight one, you may need to widen your research on how to make your travel budget-friendly. The easiest way to do this is to look at blogs of people who have traveled to the same destination on how they managed their budget.

Be sure to commit to the budget you have created. If it can’t be helped, just stick closer to the amount you have put in there. This allows you to be disciplined for your other upcoming travels. Also, make yourself accountable for any excess you made during the actual travel. 

Booking tickets
Just like what is mentioned in the first bullet, travel dates and booking dates are important in getting low fares. If you have low budget, it is rather helpful that you book flights ahead. 

One trick in getting low fares is to book your flights one by one rather than clicking continuous flights. Also, it is a plus if you enroll yourself to loyalty programs of the airlines and ferries if you travel frequently. Points can be converted to tickets when you reach minimum needed. 😉

If you need a Visa, you may want to check the websites of the embassy of the country you are visiting to know the requirements and what you need to do to acquire one. 

Book your accommodation
May it be hotels, inns, Airbnb or Couchsurfing hostels, it is best to book them ahead of time. A lot of accommodations will be fully-booked in touristy places during peak seasons. So, it is more appropriate that you reserve rooms earlier. 

Packing your luggage
Your destination and itinerary will dictate what you will be bringing for your trip. If you are going to a hot and tropical country, it is best to bring clothes that are appropriate for summer. If you are going to a cold place, then you may need your thermal long johns and jackets. 

Toiletries are also very crucial. It is best to bring smaller bottles or sachets, if available, to minimize the weight. It is best to bring extra tote that you can use to separate used clothes from unused ones or just for another use, too. 

It is best to call and ask your airline of choice about their hand-carry luggage terms, too. Some airlines do not require that your laptop, camera, magazines, etc to be included in the total weight of your hand-carry luggage; while others require them to be included.

When packing your luggage, be sure to use methods that would help you fit more into a tiny luggage. You can either fold your clothes at the size of your luggage or roll them to make use of every corner of the bag. You can search for tutorials on Youtube for this. 

My mom always tells me to have at least a pair of clothes and undies in my hand-carry luggage, just in case your checked-in one gets lost in the airport. This has been helpful when one of our luggages went missing in Brunei International Airport last 2011.

Moreover, be reminded of the things that are prohibited to be carried on your checked-in and hand-carry luggage. It is also best to have a weighing scale available to check the weight of your baggage ahead.

The most important reminder is to not carry unnecessary things with you!

Important Documents and Stuff 
From passports, valid IDs, tickets, itinerary, gadgets, cards, address books to extra cash, double check everything. 

An important note to all government workers and employees is to bring an Authority to Travel document signed by your supervisor and head of agency to avoid hassles in the immigration. It is also recommended that you have a soft copy of your documents in your flash drives and emails for emergencies. Moreover, always carry in your bag your passports and other documents during the travel. 

Bring extra biscuits, candies and water (unless prohibited) just in case you may starve at airport and ferry lines. I also bring first-aid medicine on every travel. 


These are only few of the many tips and reminders you need to know in order to have a worry-free vacation. If you have more, don't forget to write them on the comments. I will be writing more tips as per experience in this blog, so subscribe to newsletter and follow!

Hoping to see you chasing places, as well!

My Cup of Tea: My Favorite Rumi Quotes

I have not known any person who does not like quotes, poems and books of Rumi. All of his writings are spot on and everyone can relate to. 

Here are some of my favorite lines and quotes from him, although I love most of what he said. ^_^

In generosity and helping others, be like a river 
In compassion and grace, be like the sun 
In concealing others' faults, be like the night 
In anger and fury, be as if you have died 
In modesty and humility, be like the soil 
In tolerance and acceptance, be like the sea 
In presenting yourself to others, either appear as you are or be as you appear.


Your task is not to seek for love, 
but merely to seek and find all the barriers 
within yourself that you have built against it.


The wound is the place where the Light enters you.


The minute I heard my first love story,

I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.


Don't be satisfied with stories, 
how things have gone with others. 
Unfold your own myth.


Do you know what you are?
You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.
You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. 
This universe is not outside of you. 
Look inside yourself;
everything that you want, 
you are already that.


You think you are alive
because you breathe air?
Shame on you, 
that you are alive in such a limited way.
Don't be without Love, 
so you won't feel dead.
Die in Love 
and stay alive forever.


Your heart is the size of an ocean. 
Go find yourself in its hidden depths.


Hardship may dishearten at first, 
but every hardship passes away. 
All despair is followed by hope; 
all darkness is followed by sunshine.


You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop.


Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.


Are there any Rumi quotes that you love? Share them to me in the comments.

Boulevard of Lovely Dreams

Heyya girls! My girls and I were eating out at a local by-the-beach food stand yesterday. And it was just the perfect spot for OOTD - not only that it as the golden hour, the sea looked great, too! I had a lot of photos taken on this spot already, yet it never gets old. The lighting is just so perfect, add the background, too. 

Anyway, lately I've been wearing a lot of polo dress shirts. Gosh, why did I not realize the need for this type of top years back?! It is a mixture of coverage, comfort and style. And guess what? I literally splurged on all the dress shirts available in Zalora Ph. hahaha. Btw, if you want to purchase in Zalora with 15% discount, you can use my discount code: ZBAPZWTI.

Also, as you can tell from the watermarks, the link points to this domain! yey! Same with I actually started taking down other blogs to focus on this one and Hijabi Mag more. It is really tiring to maintain numerous blogs. teehee!

Hijab: Classic Crown Hijab Store
Top: Chictees (Zalora Ph)
Pants: H&M
Sneakers: Converse

Poetry: Crazy is the Girl

Crazy is the girl,
  who looks into somebody
  to find home.

Lost in space.
I look for tiny pieces to complete my being.

Crazy is the girl, 
  who loves the idea
  of falling in love.

Lost in love.
I look for companions to accept me.

Crazy is the girl,
  who seeks happiness
  from others.

Lost in thoughts.
I look for belongingness in all the wrong places.

Most of all,
  crazy is the girl,
  who writes things about herself.
Crazy is she for not finding
  happiness inside her.

Personal Development: Making a Headway to Success

We all want to be successful in a certain field. But often, we don’t know how to reach the zenith. We may not have a roadmap, but there is one thing about being successful that we are sure of. Noone becomes successful without working towards it.

As the saying goes, “if there is a will, there is a way.”

We may not know how we are going to walk to success as of the moment, but as we study ourselves, our strengths, priorities and opportunities, the road will soon open and clear itself for us.

Strengthening ourselves for the journey.

When we walk the path to success, we have to learn who we are in order for us to work further on our strengths and to at least minimize and convert our weaknesses into strengths.

If you haven’t assessed yourself as to your strengths and weaknesses, you may as well have your assessment now. To help you determine who you are or what kind of characteristics you have, you may use the following self-assessment tests:

  • DISC
  • Myers-Briggs
  • Florence Littauer’s Personality Profile
Remember to input the right information, or else, you are just fooling yourself with taking the test.

Only you will know the results, so it is best to be downright honest to yourself while answering the tests.

Knowing our priorities while going through the journey.
It is nearly impossible to reach the destination on time and with vigor if you do not know how to prioritize the things that might come along as you walk your journey to success. There are always distractions along the way. You have to be able to pinpoint them in order to make the walking, climbing a lot easier.

Like how John Maxwell made use of the Pareto Principle, you should also try to use it in your daily life.

Pareto Principle states that by focusing your attention on the first 20% of all your priorities, you would get 80% return on your effort.

Learning how to spot opportunities
Opportunities become opportunities when you can readily spot them as they come across your way. Moreover, opportunities become something we can chase and walk with if we are ready and prepared. Otherwise, how can you even make use of it?

Say for example, you want to study abroad. When the opportunity comes that a study grant is given out for a short period of application, you don’t have your passport or any of the requirements with you. That opportunity means nothing if you are not prepared to get and chase it.

Another example is you want to be a fashion designer. Eventually, you were able to befriend one of the famous designers. Not only you were given the opportunity of friendship, the opportunity to learn from that friend is also there. Of course, you don’t have to abuse the friendship. But, one thing or another, you will be exchanging thoughts per se. Then you should be able to spot on the right time to make use of the opportunity.

Success is relative. I may not look successful to you, but for me I am already a success. The same way that I may not look at you as a success story, but in your own perspective your story is more than a success.

Every day, we should be able to make success stories, unnecessarily for other’s benefit, for ourselves. Whether it is the number of minutes you were able to exceed working out, or the number of books you were able to read and comprehend and later apply to your life. There must always be something good in everyday.

To have the strength, to prioritize and to spot opportunities. Those are simple ingredients to the complexity of success. Start today.

Make Today Count - John Maxwell

Reposted from my blog that I've taken down.

Personal Development: 5 Tips to Control Materialism

Materialism is something that each of us is struggling with. We enjoy material things in our lives to the extent that we think we cannot live without them or we constantly need an upgrade. In today's modern era where business marketing is simply incorporated into our daily activities, it is rather harder to decide if what we are eyeing to purchase or get is our need or want.

Let's be honest. It is difficult to say no to the new Macbook when you already have a good laptop, or to that newly-arrived dress in your favorite boutique downtown, or just the new paid app on your App and Play Stores.

How do we combat materialistic urges? It won't be easy, but when we try, it will be worth it.

Unfollow brands on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Everywhere else!

The main purpose of brands going online is to promote their products to sell more. The truth is most of the brands make use of social media Facebook, Youtube, Google, Twitter, Instagram. A lot of brands actually pays for advertising on these platforms. How do you know that this is a paid ad or not? Just look if it has "Ads by" or "Sponsored" on it.

This actually worked on me. I am addicted to online shopping for hijabs and modest clothings. When Ramadhan came, I vowed to unfollow all the brands on my instagram since I usually browse online shops there. And I managed to get away from buying excessive clothing. Hurrah!

"The Heirarchy of Needs" is just what you need. Other than those are WANTS!

If you don't know, The Heirarchy of Needs is popularized by Abraham Maslow. It is a pyramid that shows us the level of needs of a human being.

You see, your needs are actually more on the inner than outer appearance. Our needs will be the first priority. If we know how to determine needs from wants and how to prioritize, we can always get away from excessive spending on material things and spend our extra cash on something that matters more.

You don't need to upgrade your gadgets every time there is a newly-released one. And tbh, it doesn't really matter if you reuse your clothes. 

Why do we worry so much if we don't get to upgrade our gadgets or buy new clothes, cosmetics, etc? We all have the same skin that is there for a lifetime. You can't have a pink skin as you wish (don't even mention of painting it pink, you get my point).

Always give to charity. Trust me, this lessens our urge of materialism esp when you personally hand them out.

We all have more clothes than we actually need/use (then we even think of buying more to the extent that our wardrobe cannot hold them anymore). How about giving some of them out to charity? Uhm, sounds magnificent! Here's a little challenge. In your closet, instead of hanging your clothes the way that you could easily get them, hang them the other way around. At the end of the month/year, look at the hangers that hasn't been touched. You now know which to give out to charity.

Don't even think of pleasing people. They won't be!

We think that when we buy more clothes, upgrade our gadgets, spend more than what we need, we please people. Truth is, no. We can never please people. Even if we are the richest man on earth, we still cannot please people. Instead of pleasing people, please yourself. Again, the highest form of your need is the self-actualization. This can be achieved through prayer, meditation and spirituality. When you have achieved this, as the Buddhist say, you are in your state of Nirvana.

Those were just some of my tips to combat and control materialism. I cannot say that I am not materialistic as I am only human. But, in the best possible way, let us control this evil within us. It will never bring us happiness. Cultivate relationships with fellow people and with your Maker.

That is where the true happiness lies, the genuine one!


Reposted from one of my blogs that I took down. 

Health & Living: Enhance Your Brain Function

There is no organ in our human body that fascinates me more than the brain. It is 2% of our total weight but it controls every process that takes place in our body. It is also the most complex organ. Science says that our brain contains billions, if not trillions of neurons that functions every single moment of our lives.

The brain is composed of two cells which are neurons and glial cells. However, nuerons are viewed as the most important brain cells. They are primarily involved in the sending of signals to specific cells over long distance. That means, neurons can send signal from the brain to as far as the cells in our feet.

To understand the brain further, it is the highly-sophisticated version of the CPU in the computer. That hardware can not even be .01% close to the sophistication that our brains have.

It is said that when our brain does not function well, all processes in our body will not deliver the optimal result. Sometimes, due to brain inefficiency, the person may get ill. This is why we need to know how to take care of our brain.

How do we take care of our brain? Unlike our skin that we can put on as much products from dermatologists, our brain needs certain specific things that we must do to give it its fullest ability.

Eat brain-friendly food and take vitamins.

Basically, this also means that you should not eat food that is an enemy to the brain more than eating brain-friendly food. Know the vitamins and minerals you get from each type of food you consume. I am not saying that you should buy tons of pharmaceutical vitamins and minerals just to enhance your brain. I am more on advocating the knowledge about food and their composition so that we can spend less on drugs and more on what really matters. (Of course, it is much enjoyable to eat than to take drugs.) And know that the list below are the vitamins and minerals your brain needs:

  • Omega 3 - which you can get from fish oil. So, all you need is eat oily kinds of fishes such as Tuna.
  • Vitamin B12 - this helps in keeping your mind sharp as you age. Sea foods, turkey and soya contain a lot of B12 and other vitamins and minerals one needs. 
  • Folic Acid - this is crucial on regeneration and cellular growth. Lack of Folic acid may result into depression and stress. So, keep on munching food rich with this nutrient. Dark leafy vegetables, asparagus, citrus, broccoli, beans, nuts and lentils, okra and many more are rich in folic acid. So stock on these fruits and vegetables and keep them as one of the items in the menu for every meal. Ohh, I'd love a salad right now.
Exercise, meditate and rest your brain.

Inasmuch as you exercise your physical body, the brain needs to be stimulated and awaken also. Make it a habit to answer puzzles, sudoku, brainteasers, and nonverbal tests. 

Of course, if you are the kind of person that thinks a lot the whole day, the brain needs a timeout as well. Get yourself a silent room and meditate. For us Muslims, we do it with dhikr (remembrance of Allah). If you don't like dhikr, then you might want to do some yoga exercise. 

Getting a good sleep is also crucial. While our brain is still functioning when we are asleep, at least the level of work that it has to do will go down. And it can focus on the things that need repair in your body. Basically, when you rest, you are doing your organs a lot of favor. 

Volunteer, socialize and maintain harmonious relationships.

There is nothing more comforting to the brain than having a lasting relationships with the people you love. Keep good ties with people. When you do this, you make the brain feel at ease and accepting. When we do this, we let go of negative thoughts such as jealousy, hatred and many more. 

If there are advocacies you care about, volunteer. If you are in a place where you do not know people, socialize. And if you have friends who got your back, keep them. There is nothing that can give us good life than having people to enjoy it with. 

Luckily for us, our brain needs few other brains to enjoy the moment with, as well. One may say that the heart and the brain are two opposites, but for me, they should go hand in hand. Or else, life would be a catastrophe. You cannot disregard the other for another. 

If our brain bugs down, our whole body does, too. So keep your brain in its best condition. And have a meaningful life. 

Reposted from one of my blogs that I have taken down. 

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