Friday, July 10, 2020

Heartbreaking Day for Kapamilyas

Today is probably one of the most painful days for us in the Philippines. Congress voted not to renew the franchise of ABS-CBN. I was baking when I heard about it and to me it felt like someone passed away.

One of the interviews I did at ABS-CBN back in 2013.

I remember very well when I first realized that ABS-CBN was a "brand". My sixth grade class was tasked to vote which news show we usually watched. I remember it because I was one of those who didn't watch TV Patrol. My parents preferred to watch a different news show and I asked them when I went home why they didn't like TV Patrol. My Dad said that bulk of the news were police reports and he preferred to watch more news about the economy and politics. He said he liked their late night news - "The World Tonight".

Things changed and we eventually started watching TV Patrol and ABS-CBN because our daily staple for news and entertainment. Ang TV, Mara Clara, Gimik, Pangako Sa `Yo, Walang Hanggan, Be Careful With My Heart and many more shows was there everyday. Eventually I had opportunity to work on some projects that involved ABS-CBN and I got to meet many people across the organization. Sweetie also got invited to many of their music events and I tagged along often. I'm also grateful they had supported my crisis response projects.

Random photo I took during one of my visits.

When I moved to Singapore I immediately signed up for TFC. It was what kept me connected and updated to the things happening back home. My friends would always be surprised that I know so much about what's happening back home. What I appreciate about the network are the many talents they are able to showcase and the production quality.

TFC circa 2012.

I wasn't surprised about the outcome of today's vote. The things happening back home reminds me of the time when I was a child during Martial Law. My Dad always explained the situation to us. We always had to be cautious back then. What happened today is a huge setback, but knowing us Filipinos we always find a way. This probably happened for a reason and I hope and pray this would be a good reminder to us that we should choose our leaders conscientiously.

#CB//95 #StuckAtHomeDay/125 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Rain, Rain Go Away

Heaven decided to water all the plants and trees today. It was a cold rainy day.

It was pretty cool all day so that was fine. I ended up canceling my PT session today since I had a lot to finish before the holiday tomorrow (it's SG elections). I was so busy all day I didn't get to visit my plants that much, but they seemed to be okay even though the sun did not come out the whole day.

After work I decided to prepare the chicken adobo for tomorrow. I normally marinate my adobo overnight and I wanted to get a headstart on it since I needed to slice the chicken. I normally buy sliced chicken already, this time I bought whole chicken. I was so shocked to find out that whole chicken here in Singapore includes the chicken's head and feet! OMG! In the Philippines they don't include that anymore. My hands were shaking the whole time I had to slice the head and feet. I'll probably never buy whole chicken here anymore.

It took me longer to prepare the adobo since I had to slice the chicken. I thought I could finish it quickly and still have time to re-pot the bell peppers. I just decided to rest after and just watch some videos on YouTube. My brain is pretty mush after work so thought I'd just chill and create a random blog post tonight.

I'm looking forward to the long weekend. I plan to just relax and hopefully see some friends tomorrow. I hope we'll get to take a walk in the park on Saturday and Sunday. Ahhh that will happen if the weather finally cooperates.

#CB//94 #WFH70  #StuckAtHomeDay/124 #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Cooking for Two: the Expandable Afritada

One of my favorite Filipino dishes is afritada, but I can never get the right amount to cook. When you cook with tomato sauce the dish always multiplies and we end up with so much leftover. Since I'm cooking for just me and Sweetie I thought I'd just use 300 grams of drumlets and keep the same amount of veggies. I finally ended up with just the right amount of afritada for one meal.

Here are the ingredients:

olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, sliced
1 large tomato, sliced
2 small carrots, cubed
2 small potatoes, cubed
300 grams chicken or pork
1 Tbsp rock salt
3 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup water
250 grams tomato sauce
1.5 Tbsp bread crumbs
1 bell pepper, cubed

How to cook:

Saute the chicken with garlic, onions, tomato, carrots and potatoes. Add salt.

Add the vinegar. Let boil for 5 minutes.

Add water. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.

Add tomato sauce. Lower heat. Simmer to 7-10 minutes.

Add bread crumbs. Mix.

Add bell pepper. Simmer for just 1-2 minutes (you'd want the bell pepper to be crunchy).

Serve hot.

If cooking for more you can expand the meat to 500 to 600 grams. 

#CB//93 #WFH69  #StuckAtHomeDay/123 #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

My DLSU Story

After work my neighbor Anton pinged me this video. His only message was, "Congrats!" I played the video and saw that it was a video for froshies of my alma mater. I watched on and was surprised to see myself featured as an alumni. I promptly blushed to my toes because I was in the same screen as Dr. Cirilo Bautista. I looked up to him when I was student. I'll tell more about him later in this post.

At Casa generalizia istituto Fratelli Scuole Cristiane in Rome (story here).

I always knew I was going to end up at La Salle. My siblings who are both 13+ years older than me both went to DLSU. I was about 4 years old when they'd bring me to the campus when they had activities during weekends. My Ate Nats was I think an officer in their batch and my Kuya Jojo was an athlete. They were both active in school.

When my time came many, many moons ago my sister gave me valuable advise. At that time I was very active in our parish. My sister advised me to be more active in school. She said I would be able to pick up a lot of skills from being active in school and that would be useful when I started to look for a job. As much as I wanted to keep within my comfort zone I gave it a try.

My blockmates. LC26 forever!

I joined many different organizations, but my interest to become better at writing drew me to join Malate Literary Folio. That's how I eventually met Dr. Cirilo Bautista when we submitted our works for the annual lit awards. He gave a great review of my short story and then I got scared to write after that. I guess I had the makings of a good manager because I eventually became the editor-in-chief of Malate. We published six editions that year, not just three (three regular thick books and three special editions on love/horror and a calendar issue). I also contributed to Ang Pahayagang Plaridel because I wanted to hone my Filipino writing skills and joined Green & White as associate editor. I was a busy kid.

I lost all my college photos during Typhoon Ondoy. Here's something I tried to draw during one of the Malate art workshops we did at the SPS building. Hopefully my friends will send me some scanned photos from our Malate days.
With Alex, Jowell, Bryan and Jeff. Some of my friends from Temalats (c. 2006)
[I think we all kinda grew up pretty well]

On the academic front I was okay. I was like any other student, I submitted papers on time, passed and flunked exams, attended those classes I really liked, skipped class whenever I felt like it. I always sat in front because I couldn't really see and hear well. I only ended up sitting at the back when I was late. I once became seatmates with Rico Yan and because he was so makulit our professor split us up. I was the student who tried to stay out of trouble and avoided reciting in class. My only academic claim to fame is getting awarded best thesis together with my thesismates, Jingo and Alan.

My legendary thesismates - Jingo and Alan.

Jingo and I still see each other at least once a year whenever I visit. We're still so cute noh? Hahaha.

I stayed a total of 5 years in DLSU for my double degree and two more years for my MBA. I've been popping in and out of the campus (and other La Salle campuses) in the last two decades for projects and to visit friends. I'm grateful I have been able to visit a number of campuses in the last few years. I hope I can visit more in the future and it's my dream to visit St. La Salle's birthplace too (I did come face to face with St. La Salle's relics, story here).

With my beloved Br. Gene Tianco, FSC. He took care of me when I was a student and eventually became Miggy's professor too! Miss you Br. Gene, please watch over us from up there in heaven.

Here's a few life tricks I learned from my stay in La Salle -

(1) Face challenges squarely in the eye. I was never without problems when I was a student, I faced challenges as they came. 
(2) Pressure is just a means to tackle projects in a different way. Completing three terms in one year instead of 1.5 years will train you to work differently. Take things one step at a time.
(3) Build communities, not a dictatorship. Treat everyone like family.
(4) Be practical. Know what matters. Fulfill your mission. 
(5) Keep learning. Pray.

What about you? What's your DLSU story?

*More blog posts about my La Salle experience here

#CB//92 #WFH68  #StuckAtHomeDay/122 #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, July 6, 2020

Powering On

Just got back from my physiotherapy session. I went back a few weeks ago when my physiotherapist said they were open again. Started it slowly with just one session a week. Promptly got a little sick after two sessions, but I've gotten better after a few more sessions. From today I'll be doing two sessions per week again. 

To be honest exercise has never been in my vocabulary. My PT though said I should think about exercise like how I brush my teeth. Like it's something that you need to do everyday. My Dad was super active. He played tennis and basketball. He played HS and collegiate basketball and so exercise came naturally for him. My Mom though... I never saw her exercise in my entire life. Her exercise is gardening. I guess I'm like my Mom, I've come to love gardening.

I started doing physiotherapy because of back pains. I started having it around late August last year. I thought it was just gonna go away. It didn't and by October my respiratory doctor sent me to see my orthopedic doctor who took a peek at my x-ray and referred me to a spine doctor. The spine doctor said that there's some degeneration happening.

And that's how I ended up with the most amazing physiotherapist. I admit, I'm probably one of the hardest patients to take care of because of the many considerations my PT needs to manage. Too much makes me sick, too little may trigger back pains. I think my PT knew from the beginning that if I got scared I would probably give up and not come back.

I think the most important thing she did with me is build trust. Even though the back pains came back during the two months when the clinic was closed, I trust with her guidance and care we'd be able to bring back the strength we built before the circuit breaker. So even though going to my sessions every week is hard, I push myself to go because I know it's for my own good. I hope in a few weeks my PT will allow me to go on the bicycle again because that's the only exercise which I equate to fun.

What about you? Do you like exercising?

#CB//91 #WFH67  #StuckAtHomeDay/121 #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Conquering Fears and Worries

The last time we had a pandemic that affected the whole world was over a hundred years ago. My Papa Lolo would've been 10-years old then and my Mama Lola was just born that year. This Manila Times article says that there were 80,000 Filipinos who died and the abstract of this study also suggests that it was not managed well. I don't think anyone would ever be ready to manage such a treacherous virus.

A snap from the new version of "Tell the World of His Love".
That's my 20-year old happy self leaving everything to God's will. 

It's been fourth months since I've just been staying at home. I'm sure like me you have gone through a roller coaster of emotions the last few months. From "okay I could get used to staying home, I've done this before" to "I miss the outside world, I miss my family and friends" to "OMG they extended the quarantine period, nooooo!" to acceptance.

I learned to accept the unknown after they announced the extension of the circuit breaker here in Singapore. I was so affected when it was announced because I had led myself to believe that the set-up was okay with me. I was trying to be brave. The next day I read a reflection about dealing with uncertainty. It was a good reminder for me that I should not worry about anything. Just lift all your worries and fears to Him and have faith that He will take care of you

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

A blessed Sunday everyone!

#CB//90  #StuckAtHomeDay/120 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, July 4, 2020


We just finished watching "Hamilton". Oh wow, what an amazing show! I've been hearing friends rave over the show in the last few years and now I understand why they were encouraging me to watch it the last time I was in New York.

It's been awhile since I visited NYC. Hopefully next time I can watch Hamilton live!

When Sweetie asked if I wanted to watch "Hamilton" I readily agreed. We've been watching the plays being streamed for free on YouTube the last two months. I wish there'd be more. I think the last play we were able to watch was "Les Miserables" here in Singapore. So, of course, must watch Hamilton too.

Hamilton wasn't what I expected it to be. I didn't read anything about it. I must've watched the trailer a few years ago, but don't remember anything about it. I was a little confused when the show started because people were... rapping! I was confused because they were singing modern tunes, but wore clothes from the 1800s. It wasn't your usual play.

It took me awhile to get into the story since I'm not familiar with US history and the rapping was a bit overwhelming for me (sorry Tita na). Sweetie looked it up to explain what was going on to me. Eventually I got into it and enjoyed the show more. What I really liked is the refreshing way history was presented. We was not familiar with the characters, except George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but it piqued our curiosity we started reading up more about Hamilton and Burr.

We also ended up watching a few more videos about the creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda. Wow! He is a genius! Aside from Hamilton he also wrote and co-wrote a lot of popular songs, i.e. some of the songs in Moana and that song Neil Patrick Harris sang at the opening of the Tony Awards. Wow! Wow! Wow! I told Sweetie, "He is probably the Mozart of our generation!" If you think about it, how many people are there in the world who can make great music?

If you get the chance to watch Hamilton, watch it! It's fun! New! And the music is amazing!

#CB//89  #StuckAtHomeDay/119 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, July 3, 2020

25 Years After World Youth Day 1995

Oh wow! It's been 25 years since World Youth Day 1995. I realized this when Ate Neysa pinged me a few weeks ago. She said that her choir was going to come out with a new version of the theme song, "Tell the World of His Love". Trina Belamide, the composer of the song, is part of the choir and was looking for WYD 1995 photos to use for the video. Of course, my photo collection got volunteered. It's a good thing that I had scanned my WYD 1995 photos because they got destroyed during Typhoon Ondoy. So the set of photos are really precious to me.

I'm always happy to share my WYD 1995 experience. I had previously shared it on a news segment (tiny version is here). My Ate said that my photos are also displayed in the National Shrine of Saint John Paul II in Washington. I hope whoever sees the photos would feel the love and happiness I was feeling during that time.

Ate Neysa is one of the singers in the new version of Tell the World of His Love.
Yesterday wasn't a good day for me. I felt so drained because of some uncontrollable situations. I normally read Didache before I sleep and the title of yesterday's reflection was, "Be a Prophet". I wanted to write about the new version of "Tell the World of His Love" yesterday, but I was just really tired. Reading the Word yesterday reminded me that I have to have faith. I am where I am because I have a mission to fulfill.

And that's why I easily agreed to share my old photos for the video of "Tell the World of His Love". I felt so much joy on that day especially when Pope John Paul II passed in front of us. It was the same feeling when we visited Kamay ni Hesus for healing in 2009. And most recently when we were blessed by Pope Francis in Rome two years ago.

I have been struggling health-wise the last few years. There are good days and there are bad days, but I always pull through mainly because of my faith and the love of my family. That's all that matters and I just leave where I should be to Him.

Where you at World Youth Day 1995? What was your experience?

*Congratulations Mass Appeal Choir and Trina for the new version of "Tell the World of His Love" and thank you Pablo for the amazing video!

#CB//88 #WFH66 #StuckAtHomeDay/118 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

I Miss My Mom and Miggy

I feel so drained this past week. I think I need a break. I've also been missing my Mom and Miggy a lot. This is the longest I have been away from them.

I just realized that I won't be with them on my birthday. Last year I had the best birthday. We were in Manila and we ate at my favorite spaghetti place -- Makati Supermart. In the evening we had Korean barbeque at Romantic Baboy. It was a simple happy day with the family.

Sweetie has been a really good companion. He's been very patient and has provided the stability I need. He knows when I'm feeling down and does things to make me feel better. I guess what has helped us is the many hobbies and interests we have. That's what we do on weekends.

Of course I cannot help but worry over my Mom and Miggy. They both say they're okay and have been managing well. Mom had been having cough and colds often, but I noticed that this has been drastically reduced since she's just been home. She still tends to her garden everyday and it's still so hard to get through her landline (coz it's always busy!).

I pray though that things will be a bit better this Christmas and we can all be together again.

#CB//87 #WFH65 #StuckAtHomeDay/117 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Chedeng

In the Philippines we fondly call the Mercedes Benz, the Chedeng. I don't really know why, I grew up hearing people refer to the Benz as the Chedeng. My Dad worked for General Motors and that's how he obtained a Benz. My Tito Louie said it was a 1967 W11 190D. It was the car I grew up with. It was huge, super sturdy and it had a pull down seat which was my designated seat. The doors were always too heavy for me and I could never open and close it by myself.

Daddy's car looked a bit like this, same color and build but the headlights were different. I saw this car back in 2016 at a university in Northern Luzon. Took all my will not to fling my arms around it LOL. 

My Dad never sold the car. He had an idea to keep it useful and eventually turned it into a pick-up. He super loved the car and we had it at home until I was in college. We had so many adventures with it. Every summer we'd pile up in the car and Dad would drive all the way to Bicol. There was that memorable pig in the highway (story here) and the snake in the car!

I have so many precious memories about Daddy's Benz. It was the car where my family was always complete. And so today when I went out for my physiotherapy session I saw a Benz taxi when I alighted from my Grab. I hoped then that I'd get to ride one on the way home.

Benz is <3 I think it's the perfect car.

Bought milk and juice after my session and crossed the street to the taxi stand. I had a huge smile on my face when I saw that the taxi waiting was a Benz. Uncle greeted me with a huge smile and all the way home I reminisced happy childhood memories. It also made me feel like Daddy was just around watching over me.

#CB//86 #WFH64 #StuckAtHomeDay/116 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

New Dishes and Bread I Want to Make/Bake

I'm reaching that point when I feel I'm getting cabin fever again. I know I'm getting to that point when my back starts hurting and when I start falling asleep on the couch right after work. Even though I like staying home I still miss the outside world. And I miss traveling.

The yummiest gyoza in the world by my friend Shirni <3

When this happens I try to think about new things I can do so I don't fall in a rut. I've been thinking about new dishes I can try cooking and other types of bread I can bake. Here's a list of what I'm thinking of doing -


Baked sushi
Soy garlic chicken
Baked fish (no idea what kind yet)
Carbonara (I still haven't found the best recipe)
Yilan pork dish (they sent me this recipe to follow)

*Need to finish my Pinoy buns season

Ensaymada (the megamelt version)
Coffee bun
Pizza dough (Sweetie will take care of the toppings)
Italian bread or honey oat bread (should probably check with Tappy)

For cooking I'm still thinking whether I should do a theme, maybe a cluster of North Asian dishes (Japan/South Korea/Taiwan) and some traditional Filipino recipes I've never tried. For baking, Sweetie's been really curious about those types of bread that have veggies/nuts in it. Comment below if you have any recommendations :)

#CB//85 #WFH63 #StuckAtHomeDay/115 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, June 29, 2020

Before We had Fancy Home Appliances

A new season has began for my kitchen adventures. I finally got a food processor and I'm enjoying the benefits of having one. I told Sweetie I never experienced using one because we did not have it at home when I was growing up. After trying out the food processor last weekend Sweetie wished that someone had given us a food processor as a wedding present. It could've saved me from getting wounded many times when I was learning how to properly slice veggies.

Getting a food processor made me realize that there are so many conveniences now that didn't exist back we I was growing up. Here are some I could think of -

1. All our laundry was done by hand. It was only in the 90s when we got a washing machine. During the rainy season I would oftentimes see my uniform hung at the back of our fridge to dry.

2. One of the kitchen appliances my Mom got immediately was a rice cooker. I never learned how to cook rice the traditional way. The old rice cookers though would always have burnt rice (tipo) at the bottom. My Dad love that part. Newer rice cookers now (the Japanese ones) always come out perfect.

3. A reason why I never learned how to cook growing up is because I'm scared of fire. I only learned how to light a candle when I was 12 years old because I had to stand-in as candle sponsor for my Ate's wedding. Our gas stove at home would sometimes blow out huge gusts of fire. It terrified me. I discovered electric stoves when Sweetie and I married and I learned how to cook for survival.

4. Walis tambo and bunot. Every young child knew how to use both when I was growing up. Nowadays it's more common to use vacuum cleaners and those fancy robot vacuum cleaners. We have those, but I still use a walis tambo every so often. I also have a trusty walis tingting back home.

5. My Mama Lola had a traditional Singer sewing machine when I was growing up and that's how i learned how to use a sewing machine. She also had an electric one (it was ginormous!). My Mom thought got a nice Brother sewing machine in the laste 80s (110 volts!), but she had me learn how to quilt by hand and didn't really allow me to use her fancy sewing machine. She lent it to me last Christmas (after 30 years!), but 110 volt plugs don't exist now. Those electric sewing machines used to cost a lot, but now they're quite cheap and I'm happy Sweetie got me one.

What the food processor outdated was... my hand. Having one has made food prep time much shorter. I normally take so long preparing anything that require vegetables. I'm so slow at chopping since my eye and hand coordination are not in-sync. Like seriously.

We're lucky to be in this era where we have all these conveniences. It's probably made our lives easier, but it's probably contributed to the deterioration of Mother Earth. I think the best I can do is make sure to use the appliances for a long, long time and make sure it is disposed properly (or re-used).

What about you? What are your favorite conveniences now that didn't exist before?

#CB//84 #WFH62 #StuckAtHomeDay/114 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Weekends Then, Weekends Now

I love weekends. I wish everyday was a weekend! Before Taal Volcano erupted and before we started staying home mostly our weekends were always busy. We usually had our cleaner come on Saturday mornings and then we'd spend afternoons doing hobbies. On Sundays we hear mass and then head to the mall to eat and do groceries. Sometimes we also go out on Saturdays to watch a movie or late night ice cream runs to the nearby McDonald's.

The routine changed when Miggy went back to Manila. We officially became empty nesters then and it took us several weeks before we adjusted to not having him around. We spent so much time outside because we dreaded going home to an empty house. We also ran out the door once our cleaner left and just went wherever we could. We were so relieved when he came back for our visit. It took us a long while before we got used to not having him around.

Weekends before meant going out. 

Things actually changed when I took a break in early December. It was two whole months of weekends! Haha. What was funny was I'd wake up early even while on break. Those were two very busy months since I worked on tidying up the house, clearing away old stuff and reducing stuff. We traveled a little, but generally stayed home. When I came back to Singapore and started to work again we only enjoyed one weekend where we did our old routine.

Since March our weekends have been devoted to working on our hobbies. Saturdays are usually for baking and cooking something new. Sundays for quilting and gardening. Sometimes I just sit on the couch and do nothing. We're free to move around now, but being really vulnerable we can't take any chances. So the routine isn't going to change any time soon. Well at least I can hand off some of my baked goodies to our neighbors now.

Weekends now are spent learning something new. 

I spent the entire weekend getting to know my new toy -- the food processor. I used it last night to chop veggies for my spaghetti and today I used it to knead dough! I made pandesal. Sweetie also made a smoothie which we drank while eating pandesal. I think this is going to be a new season of kitchen adventures!

What about you? How do you spend your weekends?

#CB//83 #StuckAtHomeDay/113 #StayHome #BeKind  

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Unboxed a New Kitchen Gadget!

Since we moved I've been using our blender a lot more. Our tiny kitchen in our new home has more plugs so it's been easier to prepare fruit shakes using our blender. I got the blender a few years ago from Giant and it was one of those cheap ones. Mind you the inexpensive appliances I bought here in Singapore last a long time (like the SG$20 mixer I got ten years ago, it's what I still use when I bake in Manila). I noticed though that the blender hasn't really been chopping up ice so my shakes have been ending up weird.

I normally replace gadgets only when they're not working anymore, but I thought it's about time to replace my blender. I asked my friends on FB if I should get a new one. Of course, everyone was super supportive! My friend, Jessica from Malaysia commented and said I should get a food processor instead since it can do much more.

To be honest, I have never used a food processor. We didn't have it in our house when I was growing up. Everything was chopped up manually and so I never saw the need for it. I immediately did some research and what got me interested is the point that food processors can knead dough! OMG! After reading up about food processors my friends continued to make suggestions on what brand I should get.

I have a policy for myself while I'm here in Singapore -- do not buy expensive appliances/furniture and home items while here in Singapore. I've been disciplining myself to only buy what I need and I have to bear in mind that I can't possibly bring everything back home. My friend Mark suggested I get a Philips food processor. I told him that I'd likely do that since my Philips induction stove is still working perfectly well after 7 years. I actually prefer to use it over the built in Smeg induction stove in our current kitchen.

I'm so excited to use my new kitchen gadget! I think it's going to level up my kitchen adventures! Here's the unboxing vid!

#CB//82 #StuckAtHomeDay/112 #StayHome #BeKind  

Friday, June 26, 2020

How My Teachers Adjusted During Unstable Times in the 80s

The last few months have been really busy for me. I feel five years worth of work was crammed in just 3 months and I'm so grateful for all the help we've been getting across other teams, the partners, the communities, teachers and parents. Thank you so much and we can only all get through this together.

Moving forward from the lockdown we've all been through, the reality is we all need to find and adjust to a new normal. No one knows when this pandemic will end and I read that it will take at least a year for a vaccine to be made. The virus will not adjust for us, we will need to adjust how we do everything and one common question across the world is -- how do we continue to teach our children?

Last week I interviewed some of my friends who are public school teachers. I asked them how they are adjusting to the new normal. They shared with me the adjustments they are doing with the curriculum and the creative ways they are doing to continue teaching. They said that teaching cannot be done purely online. Some form of connectivity is still needed so that the students can get their homework (through Google Classroom) and instructions from teachers. It's only when they do assessments that they'd need to meet the student directly online.

I asked myself in the past week if there's a similar situation I've been on where my teachers had to adjust how they teach drastically. I realized that time when the Philippines was politically unstable. I was in fourth grade when the EDSA Revolution happened and years following that were many coup d'etats and then years of blackouts until I was in college. You can say the education I got was not perfect and our generation probably missed a lot of the curriculum that was set out for us.

Super cute Miggy teaching counting by 5.

The months leading to the EDSA Revolution meant classes were suspended often. My teachers adjusted how they taught us and mind you back then we only engaged with them face to face. They would pile us with homework whenever we had class. One of the homework was collecting newspaper clippings and writing a reaction to it. I remember that time because I failed the Philippine map quiz since my parents didn't allow me to go to school for awhile. I never felt that my learning was incomplete.

My parents were very conservative about my safety and that meant missing more days when the coup d'etats happened. I remember it very well because one happened on my birthday. And the same way my teachers adjusted to the situation. When the blackouts rolled in I remember typing homework on my Mom's Olympus typewriter by candlelight. Not having everything was not a deterrent to my learning.

So not having everything is not a deterrent to continued learning. The tools available for us now is actually a better means for teachers to engage with their students. The teachers can design their lessons, put the resources (on Google Classroom -- learn here) and have the students get it when they go online (how do you think millions of kids play Mobile Legends?). Teachers nowadays have the means to reach their students easily, unlike when I was a kid back in the 80s when I only saw my teacher inside the classroom.

Want to learn more? Check out my post on online learning and working remotely. And check out what the Malaysia Ministry of Education has done to provide tools for teachers and students.

#CB//81 #WFH61 #StuckAtHomeDay/111 #StayHome #BeKind  

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Lazy Night

I was so drained after work and my creative juices are all gone. I just gobbled up sausage bread and some pasta I got from 7-Eleven last night. Yes, that's how lazy I am right now. I don't really want to move and just want to watch some videos. I did two loads of laundry right after work so probably that's why I feel so lazy right now.

Days like this I wish I was at the beach.

This is rare.

Normally I'm always doing something. If I were to just watch videos and not do anything else I'd likely fall asleep. I was planning to do some quilting tonight since I made progress on the Harry Potter blanket I've been working on. I've been working on it on Sundays since I normally bake/cook on Saturdays.

Last April I really had a hard time accepting the extension of the circuit breaker. I came to terms with it a few days after. I think moving to a new apartment helped a lot since the new environment got my creative juices flowing. Being home allowed me to explore the wonderful world of gardening, baking bread, cooking new dishes and quilt again.

And now I'm allowing myself to be lazy tonight. I was told this is one thing I need to work on for myself. Doing nothing is amazing.

So I'm ending this post with that thought. Good night everyone.

#CB//80 #WFH60 #StuckAtHomeDay/110 #StayHome #BeKind  

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bilo Bilo Plus Plus and Mr. Cucumber

Took a break today upon Sweetie's request. My brain though is still on work mode so I had a little difficulty adjusting to not working today. To break it I decided to cook an all-time favorite -- ginataang bilo bilo plus plus. It's plus plus because I added langka and kamote.

I had so much fun making bilo bilo. I mixed one cup of glutinous rice flour with half a cup of water. Best to add the water slowly. If it's too sticky just add more rice flour until you get a good consistency to shape them into balls. After shaping it into balls put on a plate with rice flour so it doesn't stick together.

In a pot add 2 cups of water, one it's boiling add 2 cups of coconut cream or what they call kakang gata (the first squeeze from shredded coconut). I've had some experience shredding coconut on a traditional shredder when I was a child. We used to have gata (coconut milk) dishes all the time at home since my Mom is Bicolana.

While mixing the water and coconut cream add half a cup of white sugar (less or more depending on how sweet you want it). Make sure the sugar melts. Then add the kamote, langka, sago and let boil. Add the bilo bilo last since it cooks quite fast. Let it simmer for just a few minutes or until the soup thickens. Serve hot! (Maybe next time I should add some corn).

After cooking ginataan I spent some time in the balcony to tend to my plants. It's been six weeks since I planted them and I never thought I'd become a #plantmom. It's been raining hard the past week and I'm hoping that Mr. Sun comes out at least in the mornings to provide much needed vitamins for my plants. They look alright so far, but Mr. Cucumber hmmm did something. The plants are now in a new stage and I need to learn how to care for them at this stage. I'm hoping to harvest something in a months's time. Let's see.

I realized I should have baked some bread this morning, but it's too late to start something now since I have physiotherapy later. I'll probably just do some quilting while waiting for my PT session. Ciao!

Ginataang Bilo-Bilo

2 cups water
2 cups coconut cream
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup kamote, sliced (I pre-boiled it)
1 cup langka
1.5 cups sago (optional, well I did not have any)


1 cup glutinous rice flour (and a little more for the plate)
1/2 cup water (or less, depends on the consistency)

#CB//79 #StuckAtHomeDay/109 #StayHome #BeKind  

Tuesday, June 23, 2020


My Mom was asking me earlier why I had so many tomato plants. I told her they all came from one tomato. Our conversation eventually veered towards that a possible long-lost relative from Italy who reached out to my cousin. I saw my Mom got excited as I told her stories about our lineage which I learned from my cousins.

Most of these are the tomato plants. I haven't re-potted any of the peppers.
They also came from one bell pepper.

No wonder they call it a "family tree". Like the slices from one tomato I planted, it sprouted and became several tomato plants. Eventually the plants will bear fruit and likely some of the seeds from those fruits will sprout and become plants. And the cycle will go on. Much like families.

While I was doing some research I found that the roots of our family did start in Italy and then some of them moved to Spain and Mexico and then the Philippines, other countries in Latin America and then the US. The funny thing is there's just a very small number left in Italy and most are in the Philippines and there are clusters in the Spain, Latin America and the US. There's so much you can learn about your lineage by searching online.

Knowing these things will not really change anything, but I'm thankful that now I have better understanding who were all those Titos and Titas who'd come visit our home while I was growing up. They were a lot. It's only now that I realized that they were my Mom's first cousins because my grandfather came from a very big family.

One interesting thing I learned is the common names used across generations. My mom and her siblings had the same names from my grandpa's generation. In my generation my older cousins bear the same name as the past generations. The next generation also have the same names. The long lost relative from Italy shared that the names we've been using is similar to those names used also in other countries. I wonder if other families are the same.

Now that I know a bit more about my maternal lineage I'm curious how I can get to know better my paternal ancestry. It's going to be hard to do online and I think will be better if I can interview my cousins.

What about you? Were you every curious about your ancestry?

#CB//78 #WFH59 #StuckAtHomeDay/108 #StayHome #BeKind  

Monday, June 22, 2020

2020 Birthdays

This is the birthday week of my boys and we are always together on their birthdays. I normally decline travel at this time because it's important for our family to be together at this time. We rarely do big celebrations for our birthdays and normally just have a good meal somewhere outside with the grandparents. Sometimes we celebrate with extended family and friends.

Last year's June birthdays celebration. Just the three of us. 

When Miggy was growing up we usually had his birthdays at home. I always had fun thinking of a theme and then organizing the whole party. I'd order balloons, rent chairs and tables, order cake from Goldilocks and then we'd cook the food at home. Yup, traditional home organized birthday parties.

Blast from the past.

That's how I also celebrated my birthdays growing up and most of the guests would be family and neighbors with their kids. Those big birthday parties would culminate on the 13th year and then we just eat out or do much smaller parties. We never had a kiddie party in Jollibee or McDonald's. I only experienced it eventually because of Sweetie and friends (like the Jollibee party last year).

This year is so different. This is the first time that we are not together. We surprised Miggy with lunch delivery and we had help from a friend to have cake delivered to him. We ate dinner together via Google Meets. It's a very unusual situation and this is the longest time we haven't been with Miggy. I wish this pandemic would end and we can all be with our families.

Happy, happy birthday Miggy and Sweetie! 2020 may have succeeded in keeping us apart, but I'm sure we'll soon be together again. Love, love, love!

#CB//77 #WFH58 #StuckAtHomeDay/107 #StayHome #BeKind  

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Celebrating Father's Day

The past decade has been tough for our family. Our fathers left us one after the other. Tito Tony, then Daddy, followed by Tito Mon and then Tito Ben a few years later. I couldn't bring myself to post "Happy Father's Day" on social media because the fathers I grew up with are all gone. It's just terribly sad for me.

You left me after you knew I was in good hands. 

I live with one though and I made sure he ate well the whole day -- happy Father's day Sweetie! You've been our Papa the last decade, taking care of me and Miggy. I know it's probably so hard for you to live with two messy people haha. We call it disorganized chaos hrhr. I dunno how me and Miggy would be now without you. Miggy has grown up to be 50/50 of us now haha (proven with the succulents he chose yesterday!).

Of course I do remember that I still have some more daddies here - Dad (my FIL), Tito Louie, Uncle Fumio, my Kuya and Kuya Johnny. They're all there for me, standing in for Daddy.

Happy Father's Day everyone :)

#CB//76 #StuckAtHomeDay/106 #StayHome #BeKind  

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Finally Visited the McDo Across the Road!

We were excited to move to our new place and looked forward to visiting the two parks near us. The West Coast Park also has a McDonald's in it and we were excited to visit it. Unfortunately it's been closed since we moved. In our old place there was a nearby always open McDonald's too. Sometimes we go out late at night to just tambay. It's one of the things we missed doing the last few months.

Today's happiness!

With the re-opening we're still taking as much pre-caution and will likely stay within our surroundings. Last night one of our friends ordered Tapa King so we dropped by his place to pick up the food. We were all so happy to see each other. Oh wow! It was such a great feeling to see our friends. We all wanted to hug each other, but that part we can't do yet.

Our last Mcdonald's family dine-in visit was January 24, 2020. 

I baked some chocolate cupcakes today and met up with another friend by the bus stop. We decided to cross the street and drop by McDonald's. Sweetie and I originally did not plan to go, but I thought it would be good to take a walk for some exercise. It was raining most of the day so the air was cooler. Just got a drink and went back home.

I learned during this pandemic, one must find joy even in tiny things. And today it was finally visiting the McDonald's across the road. And this rainbow :)

#CB//75 #StuckAtHomeDay/105 #StayHome #BeKind