Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Lunar New Year!

I had grand plans for my post today, but I got tied up with housework since my in-laws are visiting tomorrow and I'm heading back to Singapore already. It was a very productive day. I finished 8 loads of laundry, housecleaning, baked a cake for the first time and cooked lunch and dinner.


Now I'm to tired to blog, haha.

Good night and happy lunar new year!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Me on Google Street View

It was my first week in the Singapore office when they got everyone to go down to wave at the passing Google Street View car. I just remembered today about this because of the recent launch in the Philippines so I took a screenshot.

Here it is!



Can you spot me? (So easy to tell coz I was being my usual Filipino self taking a photo of the car, haha). 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Palate Change

I think someone stole and changed my tongue while I was asleep! Or maybe someone hypnotized me and successfully killed my meat-loving taste buds.

Since that creepy night in Baguio you can count in one hand the number of times I ate pork/beef. The mound of bacon at a meeting didn't even tempt me at all. I love pork! I always eat pork and beef. I had to just eat pork and beef for a good five years because of my allergy to chicken. But as my cardio told me six months after my surgery, "The age of indulgence is over."

In the last few months I've been watching closely what I eat. I still ate pork and beef a lot, but my weight just kept going up. It was a surprising problem to have since my metabolism was always fast. It seems that with 100% blood flow my body's telling me that I need to be more active to burn whatever I eat in excess.

My trip to Baguio did something to my taste buds. I told myself since I'm visiting the salad bowl of the Philippines I was just going to eat veggies. Eating at "Oh My Gulay" showed me that eating healthy doesn't mean you have to give up all of your favorite food (well except fast food). I've been researching online for healthy recipes and I started with the vegetables I bought from the Baguio Public Market.

Here's what I have managed to cook so far from recipes I found online:

Cheese Broccoli Soup



Vegetable and Kani Tempura



Adobong Kangkong



And then I bought the "Sexy Chef Cookbook" from National Bookstore while hunting for Miguel's odd-sized sketchbook. It's a treasure trove of healthy recipes! Here's what I made in the last few days:

Oven Baked Chicken Fingers (tasted like the one from Friday's!).



California Maki Pinwheels which I made last night. It's probably going to be one of the things I'd be making regularly since Sweetie hasn't been eating rice for about 65 days now and has missed eating maki.


And for dessert I made no bake strawberry cheesecake using low-fat cream cheese.



I've been feeling much better in the last few weeks since I've been eating more veggies and fish. My sinuses haven't been acting up and I'm really happy about that. I've also been losing weight but I hope to lose more in time for my check-up.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Google Street View Launched in the Philippines!

It's a happy, happy day! Google finally launched Google Street View in the Philippines today! That means we're going to start seeing the Google Street View cars plying around Metro Manila to take images.





The cars were unveiled at the launch today together with Sec. Mon Jimenez, Department of Tourism, Ryan Morales (Google Philippines head of marketing) and Gail Tan (Google Philippines head of PR).

Secretary Jimenez warned us we're going to get thousands of blurred faces on the images.

Images will be collected using these devices:

The car.



The Trekker, which is btw really heavy!



And the Trolley, not as pretty as the car/trekker but it's going to be used for areas that have narrow pathways.



The launch also showcased the Intramuros special collection which the team worked on during the holidays. The youngest administrator of Intramuros (he's only 33!), Marco Sardillo III, shared how they collaborated for this project. (And yes you can embed Street View images on your blog! See below). You can check out the following sites: San Agustin Church, Baluarte de San Diego, Plaza San Luis Complex and Fort Santiago by going to http://www.google.com/maps (click on the name of the place on the map and select Street View).


View Larger Map

I'm sure my mapper friends are all excited! Thanks to Allan, Wayne, Anne, Josan and Reymart who took time out from work to attend the launch and for representing the communities in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.



The cars will start driving around today so we have to wait a bit for the images.



Special congratulations to the team who worked hard to bring this to the Philippines especially Gail and Ryan! And thank you to the many other people who helped make this happen. Woohoo!

More awesome photos from the launch here.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Ruler Belief Debunked

Rules abound when you are in high school most especially if you go to an all-girls Catholic school. My oh my, our teachers were strict, our school admin was fierce. You will get called to the principals office if you are below the 99% percentile score for your NSAT (NCEE for us). I remember during our initiation when I was a froshie, our registrar/discipline officer went to the restroom to hurry us up. We were changing into our uniforms after the lunch time costume change, so we were running late for class. So if I seem a bit paranoid at times, it's because we were brought up that way in school. We had to meet the standard.

Well for all ye survivors of batch 19-- (I'm not saying!) I just discovered something about the ruler rule...

My favorite chemistry teacher, Mr. Pulmones, required all of us to use a branded ruler - Orions. He explained that we should use this ruler because it had the most accurate line measurements compared to other rulers. I complied of course. I followed this rule through the years and only bought this brand for my son because of that belief, although at times it crossed my mind that maybe he partly owned the company (haha!).



Anyway, so I was chatting the other day with my friend, Anne, who went to the same school in Bacolod. We've been comparing a lot of notes since we discovered we went to the same school (just different sites). I digress. So the ruler rule came up and I was surprised to find out that they had been required to use the same brand as well. She knew though why it was required. Apparently other rulers because they are opaque provide students the opportunity to cheat coz you can write notes on it (i.e. chemistry formulas!). So that's the real reason why they asked us to use Orions rulers.

Okay, it took more than 2 decades for that belief to be debunked. In any case, I'm still going to use Orions rulers. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our Backyard

I lived in the same house from the day I was born until I married. It was a bungalow designed by my Dad's brother and it had a lot of space. I wasn't allowed to play outside in the street but I spent a lot of time in my Mom's garden and backyard.

My Mom's garden is a testament of her passion for plants and flowers. Anything she puts in her garden lives, thrives and grows (it's my plants' hospital). I spent a lot of time when I was a kid learning crafts and playing in her garden. It's where all of my birthday parties were hosted.



I had to have company though whenever I went to our backyard. When I was a ki d our backyard had a lot of trees - avocado, atis, kamias, star apple, mango, aratilis - and a number of banana plants and sugarcane. My yaya back then loved going up trees and I would go with her (much to my Mom's dismay). We'd spend afternoons picking and eating aratilis while on the tree.



We also had chickens, dogs, cats and a variety of animals at different periods of time (quail, ducks, snails, etc.). There's a creek though that runs just beside our property so every so often there would be snakes so I wasn't really allowed to go to the backyard without company. The snakes would sometimes find their way in the house too (one was found on top of the piano once!). Well all my pets - dogs, birds, hamsters, fish etc. - were buried in our backyard.



Over time though our backyard's landscape changed. Some of the trees died and all the banana plants where taken out to clear the area. When my parents started to have grandchildren my Dad had a treehouse built on our mango tree (and I only had a swing!). The ground was cleared to create a mini-golf course for Miguel. It changed a lot that at times my Mom hosted some parties in the backyard (like some of Miguel's birthday celebrations).

Today I had the chance to check out our backyard. I was amazed at how different it was. My Mom probably had the area cleared up more so it wouldn't be too hard to clean up whenever it floods. The mango tree which has been in each of my published short stories still stands majestically in the middle of the backyard and as usual it has a gazillion fruits (the best Indian mango!). There's a rooster and a chicken with their brood of juvenile chicks running around and Miguel said he saw a squirrel this afternoon.


I'm glad I lived in a traditional house and I'm glad my son grew up in it too. In time I hope we could have a small house of our own, with lots of space, a tiny garden maybe and a backyard which will house the trees I planted when Jay and I married (my Mom is currently taking care of them for me).

Someday :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Excited!

We didn't plan what to do this weekend since we just wanted to just hang out at home. Our only priority was to complete some of Miguel's school requirements (a.k.a. hunting for a B4 sized sketchpad and other school stuff). We didn't find the right sketchpad after visiting 4 bookstores (professor requirements drive me nuts sometimes), but we found this cook book --



So tomorrow's schedule is: hear mass, visit Mom, go to the grocery and then cook!

Weeeee!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicken

Chicken can mean so many things and I just randomly thought about this now.



It can mean...

Your favorite home-made fried chicken or the one from Max's or the famous Jollibee Chickenjoy. Or you may want it grilled or baked, as a fillet or wings only, or with tomato sauce, clear soup etc. (Okay I've just managed to make myself so hungry!).


And then there's the negative connotation on the word "chicken". I don't really know how this came about. The etymology dictionary explained briefly how chicken came to mean "cowardly". "Chicken ka! Chickeeeen!"You can't use the Filipino term though... "Manok ka! Manooook!" <Awkward>

Chicken can also mean "easy". "Chicken lang yan!"

But there's also an instance that chicken is used positively - "Chicken Soup for the soul". I remember my Lola used to cook the best lugaw with chicken whenever I was sick. It's comfort food so I guess it's good for the soul.

We used to have chickens in our backyard when I was a kid and I would chase after the chicks. My Tito in Lucban though took care of cocks for cock-fighting. And those were expensive. One time my brother when he was just about 2 got so gigil with a chick. He squeezed it so tight it died. My uncle of course couldn't get mad at him because he was so young. I didn't have chicks for a pet though, I had ducklings!

Hmmm... business on chickens must be really good.

I couldn't eat chicken for about 5 years. My doctor explained that I've been allergic to chicken since I was a kid, but it was so mild the effect didn't really show. I only got extremely allergic to it after I had pneumonia. Last year though months after surgery I discovered that I had gotten back my immunities and I could eat chicken again. Hooray!!!

Chicken. Bow.

[Just realized I don't have any photos of live chickens! All I have are the yummy chicken dishes, argh. Not good. I do have duck photos though!]

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Balance

When I started blogging (on Friendster mind you) many, many years ago I discovered an entirely new world. I know I'm not the best writer. Never got in the Siliman Writers Workshop when I attempted back in college. I score low compared to other family members in vocabulary so I just string words together based on what I just know. But I still write because I like to and it's my Mom who started me on this with a diary when I was 8 years old. I write because my muse nags me.


In the last 2 years though I've gotten so busy with work so I haven't had the time to do the other things I love and well I realized today that a person really changes a lot as years go by. You discover things about yourself and try to grow more based on this discovery. And still try new things as you go along. I've had to let go of some of the things I like doing only because I just don't have time anymore (i.e. gave up all my bead jewelry stuff and gave it to my Mom).

Last week a dear friend passed away. It was so painful and a much more painful realization that sometimes things just go crazy in your life that you're not able to spend time with your family and friends. One good thing about that happening is everyone in that circle are reaching out to each other and re-connecting. Thank you for reminding us about our friendship Coy and for bringing us together again.

So the point of today's post is to dig up the things I love to do so I could use this post to remind myself to make time for these things so I don't burn out. And I guess this is a more detailed new year's resolution, haha.

I love... traveling and eating! I successfully changed my diet in the last two weeks by coincidence and I haven't been craving for meat (no more pork! no more beef!). On the traveling part, I seriously need to plot my vacations so I don't end up just taking my VLs during Christmas.

Vlogging for Davao FAT!

I love... hanging out with my family and friends! So I must cut down on weekend work so I have time to go out.

My offline family of friends.

I love... baking and cooking! I need willing victims though for my baked products. On cooking, I'm currently working on learning healthy dishes



I love... crafts! I just don't know where to start again.


I love... reading! Argh, I have a gazillion books on my bedside waiting to be read.

It's a simple list, but I think my main aim this year is to have balance. So we'll see.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BenCab

I was blown away with the galleries of artwork displayed at the BenCab Museum. I've always wanted to go but just didn't have time everytime I visited Baguio. Good thing though Iosif badly wanted to go as well so that gave me more drive to make time to visit the museum (I'm seriously a workaholic!).



I originally thought that the gallery would just display all artworks by BenCab. Showcased were artworks (paintings, sculptures etc.) by other Filipino artists. I would have stayed all day to scrutinize each artwork but we only had an hour.



Here's some of the artworks I appreciated more:


This painting depicts me at rest! Sweetie laughed when I showed him the photo. The only way I could sleep is when it's really dark. 


I love backpacks and I was fascinated with the collection of warrior backpacks. 


I love, love this. If I could paint I would immortalize my son's baby clothing too (now it's just somewhere at the back of my closet). 


Love and intimacy.


Minion? I couldn't help but smile when I saw this artwork. It was probably made long before the movie.

There was one other painting that moved me, but it seems I forgot to take a photo. It was a lady in red and you can feel her anxiousness. It struck me that she didn't want to be in the painting and that something bad was about to happen. I shivered involuntarily when I was admiring the painting.  

I do not know how to draw, so I was in awe of all the talent that was housed in the museum. I felt the love and passion in each of the work that was displayed and I couldn't help but feel envious of their talent. I think I would try to visit the museum again if I get the chance. I was certainly inspired to re-start a project that I was working on years ago. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Frozen

The cold weather has frozen my brain and the rest of my body today. Not feeling so good so I couldn't finish the original post I made.

Leaving you with a song that's been stuck on my head the last few days.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Hubby and My Cooking

Back in 2012 I got Sweetie a birthday card from Changi Airport while I was on my way to Morocco. I got the card because of the introductory line...


We've surely come a long way from the first time I attempted to cook. The first dish I cooked for Sweetie was pork adobo and it has become one of his all-time favorites (except now he doesn't eat rice with it!). I cannot say that I'm a real cook because I treat each dish I cook like a science experiment. I follow recipes like how I used to do my chemistry lab assignments back in high school. I hated the bunsen burner and I'm allergic to LPG, so the greatest invention for me is the electric stove (haha!).

It's been four years since Sweetie had to live on my cooking. I've managed to perfect a few dishes that he likes, but since he's trying to lose weight I'm now trying to learn to cook healthy dishes. Well, whatever happens to my new experiments, because he loves me (and is usually hungry), he'll probably eat it, haha.

Easy recipes and our married life adventure is over at Mabuhay ang Bagong Kasal

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Movie: Bride for Rent

Kept myself busy all day to keep myself from going emo. Three years ago today my Dad passed away. I know he's happy up there and he must've guided me in my brazen attempt to cook tempura and make kani salad for my boys (my Dad's a really great cook, he never needed a recipe book). I'm sure he would've been proud of the outcome of my cooking adventure today.

Anyway, after hearing mass we watched "Bride for Rent" together with friends. Here's the full trailer:



The only film I got to watch during the Manila Film Fest was "Girl, Boy, Bakla, Tomboy". I had wanted to check out other movies, but I got sick on New Year's Day (bad cough due to the haze) and then I got busy already. I got curious when I saw the trailer of "Bride for Rent" since it seemed like a fun movie to watch. I mentioned this to my friends mid-week last week and then hatched the plan to watch today. Endless thanks to Malou for the sponsorship (haha!).

We missed the first few minutes of the movie, but we were soon engrossed with the story. It's a romcom with a gazillion of kilig moments. Kim and Xian's tandem just really works (I watched part of My Binondo Girl). Their chemistry and good rapport shined throughout the film. The storyline though isn't really any different from formula local romcoms, but it was a fun movie to watch nonetheless.

We didn't actually notice that the movie lasted more than 2 hours since the pace was quite fast. I liked the fact that each scene was well thought-out. It was clear and concise and got to the point immediately. I also liked the fact that the characters weren't pretentious and walang angst (maybe I'm watching too many telenovelas haha). This movie was definitely what I was expecting it to be - light, no brainer and full of kilig and laughs. Watch it if you have extra time. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Baguio oh Baguio

To kick off work this year I headed up to Baguio for the inaugural of their GEG chapter led by Aris. It's my third visit in the last 6 months, but it was only on this trip I had some time to do other fun stuff. I was planning to recount this on a day to day basic but a creepy night visitor took over my blog for a few days. What I didn't expect was the trip would kinda detoxify me and wean me away from pork, beef and sweets! Argh!

On the first night I met up with Vince, Dean, Aris together with Philip and Iosif. I had always wanted to try out Oh My Gulay but never had the chance. I was ecstatic to finally visit the all-veggie resto (much to Philip's chagrin hehe) and was so excited I looked up their menu while waiting for my companions to come back from their meetings.

Vince, Dean, Iosif, Philip and Me.

I did not expect that the resto was on the fourth floor in a building on Session Road. I still have issues going up stairways and so I forced everyone to take breaks in every floor (haha). By the time we got to the resto I was huffing like I climbed Borubodur. I was so hungry by then I pigged out on bulaklak tempura, kabute pasta and OMG salad. Vince said all their veggies was organic. I was so inspired by the resto that I've been researching on all-veggie recipes.

Onion Rings, Bulaklak Tempura, OMG Sald, Kabute Pasta

The next day we went to the strawberry farm to pick strawberries. In the afternoon was the highlight of my trip where we had an overwhelming number of teachers attend the first GEG Baguio meet-up. It was really a momentous day and it was great to hear the expectations of the teachers on this new community. Congratulations Aris and all the teachers! And special thanks to GBG Baguio and GDG Baguio for the support.


Welcome to the family GEG Baguio!

I must say that even though Baguio is known to be one of the coldest places in the Philippines, it has the most hospitable people. Aris wanted us to experience the traditional Baguio home and invited us to his home. We had a pizza party and roasted marshmallows on the fireplace. It was a fun-filled evening and Aris really has a lovely home. Thank you Aris for this experience!

At Aris' home. I had 4 layers of clothing on coz it was coooooold!

And then well, you know what happened next.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Bacon

There isn't much to say today
Even though it was a great work day
I'm still very much sad
About yesterday that turned out bad.

So I leave this post
With something
That brightened up my day.


P.S. I didn't have any. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Goodbye Partner

One of the lessons my Dad always told me when I was growing up was that each of us have a mission and that is why we are alive. Once you are done with your mission it's the only time that you can finally go home. He started telling me about this when my Lola passed away. I was so devastated since it was the first time for me to experience death of a loved one.

When we found out my Dad had stage 4 cancer I didn't really know what to do. It was the moment that I had been fearing all my life since I couldn't imagine living without my Dad. My Dad though was happy. Yes, happy! He said he was happy because it meant he had completed his mission.

I'm very much devastated from the news that my vlogging partner has passed away. We call each other "partner" because we were paired up to do the vlogging segment at one of the iBlog conferences a few years back. During that time I was the "amateur" vlogger while he was the "expert" vlogger. I learned a lot from him and will never forget the time that the MOA guard chased us when we were filming our presentation at the bay area of the mall.



Coy was still a student when I met him so I automatically became his "Ate". I'd bug him whenever I visit his school and eventually I'd always bump into him during blogging events. He was always there and we always had good laughs. And who'd ever forget his "panga pose". I never really knew if he actually lost weight when he did his diet vlog (I think he did). Well, he always gave huge bear hugs.

Here was the vlog he had painstakingly edited in time for our talk at iBlog4.


And our teaser video (my goodness we were both so thin back then!).

Well Partner, you've made a lot of people happy and I'm glad you were a part of my life. I'm just thinking now you're with AJ up there taking selfies and making new vlogs with him. Please watch over us who's still stuck here trying to complete our mission. Will miss you.

*Photo from Philippine Blog Awards.

Other links:
iBlog4 Q&A (thanks Ninang Janette!)
at iBlog4 during our presentation
You Got Tech awarding

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Big Shift

In the last few weeks I was faced with a major fork in the road. There were three choices and all of them I love dearly. It was hard to choose so I reached out to my Kuya for some guidance. He immediately responded to me and gave me an exercise I should go through.

I didn't go through the exercise and chose the easiest logical choice before Christmas.

I thought I was okay with the choice but it didn't sit well with me. I felt I had gotten emotional and chose only based on the conditions. I had not taken into consideration other facets of my life that were equally important. I had been carrying a heavy heart for a few weeks.

Going on vacation does wonders for a person. I had been so busy the last few months and everything was just about work. I didn't have a weekend for 3 straight months and I badly needed rest. It took a few weeks for me to get out of the zone and when I did I realized that I should've done the exercise my Kuya had sent me.

The exercise allowed me to make my choice based on what I like doing, how it will affect my family and my health, my future plans, personal growth and service to my community/faith. I had mistakenly made my original decision based on logic and what would've been easiest to do. It was a very selfish decision and I realized that it wasn't my current mission.

So 2014 is going to be a big shift for me in my career. It's going to be a challenging year!  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Strawberry Picking in Benguet

Last weekend I finally (finally!!!) had the chance to pick strawberries in La Trinidad, Benguet. When I went there last November it wasn't strawberry season yet.


During that time the farmers were busy planting and so all we could do was walk up and down the narrow farm path (I'm flat-footed and balance beams are dangerous to my health). It was good exercise though.



No strawberries at all, boohoo.


But I was in good company so the trip was still fun.


This time around the strawberry field was lushly green and alive!



Strawberry picking costs PhP400 per kilo. The farmers though allow you and about 5 of your friends to help pick a kilo worth of strawberries.



Armed with a basket and scissors the farmer taught us how to harvest and wished us luck. Yes, luck because it's actually hard to pick strawberries.


First you have to find a big red ripe one from under the leaves. Then you have to squat down in the narrow foot path in between the plant rows and just then you can snip off the strawberry.


After about 15 berries I gave up. Haha!



Iosif though is a natural farmer. He probably completed 1.8 kilograms of the 2 kilograms of strawberries we harvested. Good job! (We had to pay additional PhP400 though).


The experience though reminded me to appreciate all the food I eat. Back when I was a kid they told us in school that each grain of rice is the hardwork (dugo't pawis) of a farmer somewhere. I can't imagine how they manage all day and this also reminded me of the Philippine folksong "Magtanim ay di biro, maghapon nakayuko..." God bless all the farmers!



It was worth all the effort though and we had a strawberry merienda party after our event in the afternoon.



Oh, you can also pick lettuce! Just make sure you borrow a knife because you aren't supposed to uproot it. Right Phillip?


Thanks Vince, Ellaine, Saki, Aldreen, Phillip and Iosif for the fun-filled morning! My Mom said I actually got a tan!