Inspiring you to be more grateful each day


[TuesDate] Pleasant Surprises and Setbacks: Boracay edition

How are you?

I’m back in Manila from Boracay. I feel so refreshed! Thank God!

Today, I’d like to share a bit about my adventures in Boracay — the little surprises and setbacks.

…and how life feels when we see everything through the lens of gratitude.

When I travel, I like to be as spontaneous as possible.

The same is true for my recent Boracay trip.

I left a lot of room for God to surprise me and my goal was to look out for those little and big surprises from Him.

And woah! I felt God’s love and presence in concrete ways! Let me share some of His surprises:

  1. Snorkeling in the pool

I’m not a swimmer but I can swim with a little help from a floater or snorkeling gear. Hehe!

I’ve been wanting to go back to using snorkeling gear in the pool since I lost my snorkeling gear a few years ago.

But for some reason, I felt it may look awkward for an adult like me to do that.

I was laughed at the first and last time I snorkeled in the pool many years ago.

​On my Day 2 in Boracay, I saw a grown-up man probably in his 30s or 40s swimming in the hotel pool using a snorkeling equipment.

And nope, he didn’t look awkward to me. In fact, my reaction was, “How brave of him to be authentic.”

He inspired me to buy my own snorkeling gear that same day! And yes! I enjoyed swimming using that gear!

​​2. Macaroons

My friend was so sweet to send me pastries which I brought with me to Boracay and I am so grateful for the gesture.

When I saw the pastries and it’s not chocolate in color, I realized I’m not a fan of pastries. Hehe!

Then I wondered, “What kind of pastries do I want?”

Macaroons! I like macaroons!”

Guess what?! That night, the hotel sent me complimentary macaroons! And nope, I didn’t ask them. It was a surprise!!!

(Later during the week, I tried the non-chocolate pastries my friend sent me. They were yummy!)

3. Maya’s restaurant

A friend recommended I check out Maya’s restaurant because their food is really good.

The next day, another friend recommended Maya’s.

I said, “Okay, I’ll try that out.”

A few minutes later, a client back in 2011 who became a friend messaged me and said,

“Sha, I’m going to Boracay on Friday. Let’s have lunch at Maya’s. The owner is my friend.”

We had lunch there and I’ve never felt so”kilig” (giddy with excitement) over food!

The last time I felt that kind of giddiness over food was when my friend’s foodie sister brought me to this foodie restaurant in New York in 2019.

This was what our group ordered! I had bangus sisig plus choco peanut shake! It became an instant favorite!

​The food and shakes at Maya’s were so good and I am thinking of going back to Boracay just to try all the food on their menu!

4. Eucharist on Ash Wednesday

I arrived in Boracay on Sunday afternoon and I wanted to hear Mass in person there.

However, I was so exhausted, hungry, and sleepy by the time I reached our hotel. (The past two crazy weeks really took a toll on my energy).

I didn’t know what to do first.
Should I eat first? But I was too tired to even walk towards the phone and order food.
Should I sleep first? But I just came from the travel hustle and bustle and I wanted to take a full bath first before I can sleep on the bed. (I am neat conscious)

I ended up napping on the chair for 1o minutes so I’ll have the energy to order food (room service) and eat my food!

​Unfortunately, I was really so drained I ended up hearing Mass by the beach at night instead of going to the Church.
I felt a little sad I wasn’t able to receive the Holy Eucharist that day.

​On Ash Wednesday, I woke up early to attend the 6:30AM Mass.

Guess what?! The Eucharistic minister “inadvertently” gave me two Eucharists.

It’s like God saying, “One is for today, the other one was for Sunday!”

5. Strengths Finder test

Prior to my trip to Boracay, I made a mental note that I’ll take the Strengths Finder test while in Boracay.
I didn’t write it down and I totally forgot about it.

While I was scrolling Facebook while in Boracay, a friend posted his Strengths Finder test result from 2019.
And that’s when I remembered, “Oh yes, I’ll take the test today.”

6. Bible Study

I quit something important last week. My decision to quit was from my heart.

I realized that that “something” was slowly eroding my confidence in that particular area.

It was doing me more harm than good. So I quit.

​During our Bible Study, our mentor Anthony Pangilinan asked,
“How do you guard your energy?”

I said, “Know when to quit.”

Anthony replied,

“I agree. They say winners don’t quit, but that’s not true.

By the way, that’s my podcast topic this week, “Giving Up.”

Wow! What a perfect timing!

​I was consciously observing how God was loving me and surprising me that week.

Indeed, God is so good and sweet.

​​But wait, I want to be real.

Not everything went well during my Boracay trip.

  1. My pricey pedometer watch stopped charging!

I brought my pedometer watch with me because I wanted to walk by the beach for 2-3 hours everyday and track my steps.

But my pedometer watch stopped charging even if I bought it only 3 months ago!

It’s from a famous brand and it’s a bit a pricey. (Okay, I won’t mention the brand. I’ll give them a chance to redeem themselves).

The company was kind enough to tell me they’ll send me a replacement maybe in a few weeks time.

But still, it was such a hassle that the gadget I trusted to deliver failed me.

Plus, TIME is always more important than money.

I was willing to buy a new pedometer watch while in Boracay.

I went to all the gadget stores in Boracay but I didn’t find any.

2. Breakfast coupons

As with most hotels, my room was good for two with two complimentary breakfast.

I traveled solo!
I had allowance for 5 breakfast coupons for my guests.

I wanted to treat my Boracay contacts — videographers, tour guide, errand guy — to breakfast.

The hotel said I can bring one guest for breakfast for 5 days. Total of 5 guest coupons.

I asked if I can bring 5 guests in one day. Total of 5 guest coupons.

They declined.

… even if that was my 3rd booking with them in the past 9 months.

Did I feel disappointed? You bet.
But I also understood the hotel restaurant manager was just following their “rules.”

Plus, everything else was super great — customer service, hotel staff, ambiance, food, etc.

The pedometer watch company did their best to produce quality gadgets and maybe the defective gadget that went to me was an isolated case.
Plus, they wanted to make up by sending me a replacement. I appreciated the gesture.

It’s easy to let circumstances ruin our day.

But when we do that, we’re on the losing end.

It’s okay to feel sad, disappointed, angry. It’s okay to feel our emotions. That’s our way of loving ourselves and creating a safe space for ourselves.

​But we have the power to take responsibility for our responses.

When we blame the circumstances or other people, we are giving away our power.

When setbacks happen, my guiding principle is, “Something good will come out of this.”

Then I proceed to ask myself,
“What can I learn from this?
How can I grow from this experience?

How is this experience promoting me?”

​As regards the pedometer watch, since I now travel more often, I decided to get a second pedometer watch so that in case one fails, I have a backup.

As regards the hotel, I messaged two of my global speaker friends who are experts when it comes to the hospitality industry and customer service and asked what’s their take on what happened. I love how fast they replied to me and how loving and insightful their responses were.

I got reminded that I have great friends. Plus, the creative idea I had in mind on how I can potentially “help” the hotel and their clients re what happened was validated.

In addition, instead of having that hotel as my default favorite hotel when I visit Boracay, I decided to check out some hotels in Station 1 and I saw some potential places I can stay in when I go back to Boracay.

I saw one that I really liked and my friend said, “The owner is my friend. Let me know when you travel again to Boracay. Maybe we can ask for a special rate.”


Of course, I was still able to host a “Thank You” dinner for my Boracay contacts (videographers, errand guy, and tour guide).

​Everything is for the good.

​If you’ve encountered any setbacks recently, know that everything is happening FOR you.

​Everything is happening for your highest good.

​Have a beautiful week ahead!


Sha Nacino

Sha Nacino is an author of 14 books, a keynote speaker on gratitude & creativity, and the founder of World Gratitude Summit and Thrive University. She is the recipient of the Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the United Nations Global Entrepreneur Council.

She is the host of The Author's Voice Podcast and Joy & Peace Podcast for Catholic Singles.

You can find her on IG at

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