Monday, November 30, 2020

Goodbye November, Hello December!

Oh wow, it's going to be December already tomorrow. Where did time fly? It feels like time stopped after February and the last few months have just been a bad dream. November did not treat me kindly and I'm still recovering from being sick. My doctor wants me to heal naturally. This means I need to take the punches as they come and let my immune system do the work. 

Whew! The next few weeks are going to be challenging. 


But, Christmas is just around the corner and I want to be in tip-top shape for Christmas! I think that's the best I can do for my family. I think my doctor wants me to heal naturally so I can also build up my stamina and be stronger. Tomorrow will be day 1 of full balik alindog program! 

I'm just glad that despite all these challenges I'm in a better place now compared to last year. It took me six months to regain my resilience and normal happy self. I got to this place thanks to my family, friends and my plants! Yes! My plants! I think whatever it was I went through this month they took the hit for me. A few are still alive and I'll see if I can nourish them back to good health (together with me!). 

I have also been preparing for Christmas. Sent a box to Miggy and Mom and arranged for some gifts to be sent to family and close friends. I'm a bit delayed with the Christmas cards, but I hope to send them this week. 

I can't wait to start December and then count down to a better new year! 

#CB//236 #StuckAtHomeDay/266 #WFH156 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Beautiful Lazy Sunday

Sunday is rest day. Slept in and finally got up at noon since I wanted some coffee. Ate oatmeal and a half a bagel while drinking coffee and then tended to my plants. 

Most of my plants are dead now. Yup! They lived beautifully for a few months, but when I started getting sick I couldn't take care of them the way I used to. I had to treat them weekly so keep the bugs away. It takes a lot of effort from my end and when I got sick a few weeks ago I wasn't able to fight the pest anymore. I finally got to remove some of the dead ones today. It'll take a few more days for me to clean up the pots and then I'll think about re-planting. Maybe I should plant more mustasa since the bugs hate it hehe. 

Took a shower and then heated up all our leftovers for buffet Sunday. That's what we usually do on weekends. After eating we just settled on the couch and watched videos. I was going to work on my quilting project, but I just decided to rest. Tomorrow will be a work day and I'm sure I have a gazillion mails waiting in my inbox. I also need to make a quick run to my doctor. Tomorrow he will decided whether it's the right time to remove one of my medications. 

I can't believe it's the last day of November already tomorrow. The month just flew by, although this is not one of my favorite months since I unexpectedly got sick. I'm grateful to be alive and hope this impasse can eventually get resolved. 

How was your weekend?

#CB//235 #StuckAtHomeDay/265 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Started Working on my TB Bucketlist

A few years ago we got lost and ended up in a MRT station far away from our home. We went out and ended up at a Toast Box branch located by the station. I got curious and checked how many Toast Box branches there are in Singapore. At that time I think there were only 50. I thought about visiting all the Toast Box branches across the island. 


Got so busy and I never got around to starting it. I told a friend about the plan a few months ago and he said he wanted to join me on my quest. I checked last night and found out there are 70 Toast Box branches across Singapore now. I'm not sure how many branches I've been to already so we started the quest today at a branch I've never been to -- Tiong Bahru Plaza. 

We wanted to go to one that had outdoor seating, but I couldn't find any. The last time I visited Tiong Bahru was over ten years ago probably. I usually just pass through it on the way to another location. The shop was located at Tiong Bahru Plaza. It had quite a lot of seats inside and is a cozy place for meeting up with friends. We spent a good hour eating merienda and catching up. 

With the TeaCompletely.com crew at ToastBox Funan (c. 2017).

I just took a look at the list and it looks like I have been to a number of branches in the North, South and Central area of Singapore. Not much from the East and West part. It'll probably take time before I complete all the 70 branches since it seems I have to limit my movement for now and rest. It was fun though to finally start something that's been on my to-do list for a long time now. 

Have you tried my Toast Box peanut butter cookies?


#CB//234 #StuckAtHomeDay/264 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Lunch Date at Central Perk

I took a leave for the rest of the week to rest and recuperate. I also didn't know how much energy I'd lose after the tests I had yesterday. I'm glad I took the day off also today since the scan was pretty painful. I had a brilliant idea last night and told Sweetie maybe we can have lunch at Central Perk. 

If you're an avid fan of the TV show "Friends", you'd know that Central Perk was the cafe they used to hang out in all the time. We've been wanting to visit Central Perk and attempted to go twice already. It was either full because of a party or closed. We randomly saw a "Friends" related video last night and that's how I got the idea to have lunch there today. 

Google Maps said it would be open by 11am and it prompted me to make a reservation. I booked for 12:30pm and the place was empty when we arrived (so much for booking haha). Went through the usual safe entry and temperature check protocol and we were showed our seat which was just beside the replica of the couch. We accessed the menu via a QR code which directed us to a web page where we can select our orders. 


We were hungry and so ordered a lot of food! The servings were huge! The items on the menu were each associated which a character from the show. I ordered the Phoebe Buffay cappuccino and Sweetie got the Chandler Bing cappuccino. We ordered a couple more things and brought home some leftovers hehe. We ate really slow and by the time we finished (2 hours later) there were a couple more diners. (More about what we ate here).

There was a small area which led to Monica and Rachel's kitchen replica and they had a few more memorablia on display. They were also selling some souvenirs (shirts go for SG$49!). After looking around we left. The food was a bit pricey, but the servings were huge and we had fun. I'm thankful I was able to make it out today. I hope I can go swimming over the weekend. 



Have you visited Central Perk? Did you finish watching the Friends series?

#CB//233 #StuckAtHomeDay/263 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

A Gloriously Happy Thanksgiving

I asked Sweetie last night if they celebrated Thanksgiving when he was growing up. He said they had friends and neighbors who would invite them. I have never experienced celebrating Thanksgiving. It's not something we celebrate in the Philippines. 



This years has been really tough so I've been looking for excuses to celebrate (a.k.a. order yummy food!). I thought it would be a good time to experience Thanksgiving. A few days ago I started to look for Thanksgiving food delivery. Up until this morning I couldn't find any so we decided to just get some chicken. 

Max's Restaurant had the perfect combo. They have a smaller combo now good for 3 which includes half chicken, kare-kare, pancit and lumpia. Ahhh what a feast! It was a lot so we'll have the rest for lunch tomorrow. Luckily Sweetie brought home some Thanksgiving dessert from the office so I got to try pumpkin goodies. 

It's been a tough year, but there's so much to be thankful for and I am grateful for that. There's been so much bayanihan around us. Our medical frontliners have been taking care of all of us. They have sacrificed so much of themselves. To support these frontliners there are those who volunteered to provide food, additional PPEs, masks, face shield, shelter. And in the past month there's so many people helping those affected by the typhoons. Even though the year has been really tough it's been bringing out the best in us too. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Always be grateful and live life to the fullest! 

#CB//232 #StuckAtHomeDay/262 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thank You for the Hugs and Love

I was feeling so unwell yesterday and asked hugs from everyone. After I asked for the hugs I went offline and focused on finishing work and rested after. I was so surprised this morning when I got an outpouring of hugs and messages of love from family and friends. Thank you from the bottom of my repaired  heart <3

Showing your support for us who get sick helps a lot. It makes us feel we're still needed and does wonders to our fighting spirit. My doctors believe so much in me I forgot to ask for some rest time. My friends here were telling me I should have taken a break. I'm so busy at work right now it did not cross my mind to ask for some rest time from my doctors. I figured since they only gave me dizzy meds I'd be okay after resting during the weekend. Not. 

I'm still oddly lucky because despite all these mishaps I never had to stay in the hospital. And that's a big thing for me. I dread having to stay in the hospital especially during this time. You also don't really get enough rest at the hospital since they check on you every other hour. So I'm grateful that I'm able to hold up even with my complicated body. 

Tomorrow I am scheduled to do some tests. I hope and pray that the tests would be positive and help me with my quest to reduce my medication. If it works out it means I'll probably get off one of my medications next week! This medication has a lot of side effects. I think I can only get better when I stop taking it. We'll see :)

#CB//231 #StuckAtHomeDay/261 #WFH155 #StayHome #BeKind 


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

It's Complicated

I was told after heart surgery I am one in one hundred thousand. It was funny because nurses, pre-med students flocked to my room to have a look at me. I didn't mind since I thought it could help someone they treat in the future. I even told my second opinion doctor that I may decide to donate my body to science once I pass. Seriously, yes. My family though would probably disagree. 

After PT yesterday. Must get stronger. 

I'm feeling a little bit sad today. I just read a summary my second opinion doctor wrote about my condition. She mentioned the term complicated a couple of times in the report. I've always known that my body is different from everyone else. It's an intricate system (don't worry I won't bore you with the details). My doctors told me I've been this way since I was born and it's never really bothered me. And I'm just grateful I'm still alive and can do to contribute. 

In a lot of ways I know I won't be me without being different. My doctor told me I'd probably be very different if I didn't have those tiny cavernomas in my brain. Sometimes though I cannot help but think, would my life be different if I had a normal body? If I did I would probably have more adventures. Maybe I'd be an extrovert. Maybe I'd be more friendly, more outgoing. I'd have more energy and be able to do marathons, climb mountains, hike, bike like crazy. 

But that's not me. God gave me this body, challenges, and mission. I will not have it any other way. I am thankful and grateful for all my family, friends and colleagues who understand that I am not physically strong like everyone else. They know that despite all the challenges I face physically that I give what I can. 

I thought I'd write this for all other people who are like me. Especially for those persons who have bodies that science don't completely understand yet. We are all created different after all. So just live the best way you can. Just love and live happy. 

#CB//230 #StuckAtHomeDay/260 #WFH154 #StayHome #BeKind 




Monday, November 23, 2020

A Letter to My Younger Self

Five years ago I did an introspection about the third decade of my life. I've been thinking of writing my younger self a letter. What really helped me get through those crazy years was looking far ahead. 

Dear 20-something self, 

On Career. I'm writing you today to let you know that you are doing great career-wise! Your hardwork will eventually pay off, just keep being yourself and keep shining. You're on the right track there. Focus on learning from the hardships you're going through. As Dr. Ned advised, always have a mentor in mind and keep evidences of everything. You're going to hit rock-bottom with your self-esteem, but always remember you are the talent. You will bring it anywhere you go. 


On Finances. 
Going into debt to finish your masters is fine. This is going to leave you in the negative for sometime. Prioritize spending only for essentials (which you did). Just make sure you chip off that tuition debt until you finish it (or until someone helps bail you out). That's why you need to work hard so you can finally start saving. Maybe don't indulge so much buying Miggy toys so he can learn the value of what he has. Don't worry that you're starting too late on saving, you'll eventually figure it out. 

On Love. There's nothing missing in your life. You have your family and Miggy. That's all that matters. Do not be distracted by empty promises. And that guy you've been dating? He's crazy. Listen to your parents when they say that you should find someone who has the same values as you. Good job breaking it off. Pray for God to write you love story and stop the distractions. They will just waste your time. Spend it instead with Miggy. 

On Friendship. Your childhood friends are your forever friends. Keep them close and loved. They will always be there for you. Be wary of those who will just use you for their own purpose. It's better to be selective. The others are just distractions. But remember, it is in friendship where you will find your one true love. Read Bo Sanchez' book "How to Find Your One True Love". It will help put you in the right direction. Enjoy with your friends, don't be too focused on work. 


On Faith. It is only when you put God at the center when things will work out for you. Stop being stubborn and just let Him navigate your life. I promise, things will get so much better and everything you hoped for will finally happen. It was only when I gave up that all the struggles stopped. 


It's been five years since I started four-ever. Things were okay, the last three years has been a struggle health-wise. Be careful of picking up germs and viruses. You'll get over them, but the effects will show up later (which is now for me). Do listen to what your allergologist will tell you, it will help you immensely as you go through those health issues. If you can, maybe eat more veggies (and teach Miggy too). 

Just be yourself, listen to your elders, live your mission and let God navigate your life. Stop obsessing about trivial matters and just be your awesome self. Everything else will follow. 

love, 

Your future self 


#CB//229 #StuckAtHomeDay/259 #WFH153 #StayHome #BeKind 


Sunday, November 22, 2020

Balikbayan Box Time!

When I was growing up Titay used to send us balikbayan boxes from the US. I would always be around Mom when she'd unbox the giant package. I don't know about you, but all the balikbayan boxes we got always smelled like freshly laundered clothes. It smells so good! 

My colleagues in other countries were always baffled about why I always have to buy stuff to bring back home. They would always ask why buy chocolates, canned goods etc. when most of these things you can buy back home anyway. I told them that it's customary for us to buy something for our loved ones back home. It can be a bag of chocolate, socks, toys, canned goods etc. We do that to share our experience with our love ones and to let them know they were in our thoughts when we were away. 

It is common for Filipinos living abroad to send a balikbayan box back home. Balikbayan means to go back to one's home country. Sending a box back home is like sending a part of you from abroad. It's a care package. To be honest in the nine years I've been in Singapore it was only this year I finally sent a box home. I never needed to since I used to go home a lot. My suitcase would always be full of pasalubongs whenever I go home. 

Building up a balikbayan box takes time. I buy additional things whenever I order groceries. My online shopping mostly consists of quilting materials for my Mom. I got her fabric, rulers, binding materials, thread etc. via Lazada. For Miggy it's mostly books and some of his favorite food. We also decided to send back all his clothes that are here so he can use it in Manila. 

We just finished re-packing our box. Originally we were going to send it via LBC, but I was chasing them in October and never got a proper response. My former housemate said I should just use Jolly-B since they're more reliable. Finally sending the box tomorrow. It probably won't reach in time for Christmas (huhu). I just hope it reaches them all in one piece. 

#CB//228 #StuckAtHomeDay/258 #StayHome #BeKind 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

All I Want for Christmas

I was looking forward to being with family this year for Christmas. It breaks my heart that we won't be able to go home this year. It's going to be too risky for me and our time will be eaten up being quarantined in a hotel going home and coming back. The hotel stay plus the medical tests will also be expensive. My Mom also told me she doesn't any one of us to travel for now. 

My prayer for this Christmas is for all families to be in their own homes, safe and complete. I hope by then everyone who went through pain in the last few months would be settled and happy again. I've been watching the news and the outpouring of help back home. I hope the bayanihan happening at home will soon bring everyone back to their homes. 

All I want for Christmas is that and good health for me and my family. I'm doing some tests next week. I hope the tests will prove to my doctors that I can get off one of my maintenance medications. My physiotherapist warned me if it's removed I need to be aware how it may affect my body. So we'll be taking it slow for the next few weeks. 

A lot of my friends told me that they're not in the mood for Christmas. I felt like that last year. I didn't even decorate for Christmas last year even though I was on break. I thought I'd make up for it this year. I brought out my decors last October and started my Christmas project early. I hope my friends would like what I made for them since it's made with love. 

As usual I'm delayed with my project and the box going home is going to be picked up by Monday already. Accccck! I'm torn between sending it now or sending a smaller box next week. I'll decide tomorrow. Many years ago I was so good planning for Christmas. I have everything prepared really early. I've become sluggish the last few years since I've been getting sick in-between. Oh well, will do my best for now. 

Anyhoo, it's 34 days before Christmas. Do you have anything planned? 

#CB//227 #StuckAtHomeDay/257 #StayHome #BeKind 

Friday, November 20, 2020

I Jumped Off a Cliff

Sweetie's eyes widened when I told him about that time I jumped over a cliff. Well it was more like a 2-storey high rock in the middle of the Cagayan river. 

Sweetie's first question was, "Was it before or after we were married?" Hahaha. I said it happened before we even met. I was pretty adventurous back then (which is a good thing!). My colleagues from VisMin invited me to join them during their assignment at Cagayan de Oro. 

Would you be able to recognize me?

It was raining hard that week, but we got lucky on the day we we went white water rafting. The river was like chocolate milk that day and there was definitely a lot of white water. I was so light weight back then and the guides were worried I might get thrown off the raft. I held on for dear life. 


We started early in the morning, had lunch somewhere in the middle of the river and at the end of the course we reached an area which had a very tall mound of rock The guide told us it was our graduation for finishing the course. We had to climb up and jump of it. I didn't hesitate and went up with my colleagues. I was one of the last to jump off and it was pretty windy. I was pushed sideways by the wind when I jumped (that was how lightweight I was!) and it seemed like forever before I reached the water. 

Exhilirating. That's how I felt when I jumped. If I could I'd do it again, but I'd probably be prohibited from jumping off cliffs now haha (I can imagine my boys frowning about this thought). I think it was also that time when I went on a zipline too. 

Happy memories from 18 years ago. I look back at those times fondly. I was based in our Manila office, but my VisMin colleagues welcomed me with open arms. Oh how I miss those days and the adventures (and misadventures) we had. Thank you my friends for this wonderful memory. 

#CB//226 #StuckAtHomeDay/256 #WFH152 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Midlife Crisis, wut

This is one of the strangest years in my life. I don't know about you, but time has just been moving really fast for me. It's been moving fast for me probably because I've been so busy at work. 


I received a reminder this morning about someone celebrating her 30th birthday. I wondered who it was and read through the email. I was so surprised to find out that my niece is turning 30! It did not occur to me that she'd be turning 30 because in my mind she's just 12 years old (forever). Yup, even though she has a five year old son I still think she's only 12. 

When I realized that a timelapse of my life fast-forwarded in my mind. I've just been taking things one day at a time and I realized I've already lived four and a half decades. Now I'm asking myself, have I really lived? Have I been fulfilling my mission? Am I having a mid-life crisis? 

OMG! Am I?

That thought just literally popped in my head. 

<break>

Sorry, I just had to read a little about what midlife crisis is all about. Honestly it never crossed my mind. I read this article and it says that one goes through a slump in their 40s. Happiness declines and you have this urge about being young again. That's exactly what I wrote about last night (struggling with change). The article also said that midlife crisis is usually triggered by life changes. 

I had a major life change last year when Miggy finished school and moved back to Manila (empty nester now huhu). That happened and I was overwhelmed with my health issues (PTSD probably). I'm out of the woods now and I think my happiness tank is filling up again. So maybe I did have a midlife crisis (an early one!) and I'm over it. I definitely do not have any urges to be young again. I'm happy being my age (my doctors keep reminding me I'm still so young). I'm happy not caring about things that used to rile me up when I was in my 30s. 

They were just 2 years old yesterday...

Whew! I'm glad that shock about my niece turning 30 this month is over. So... she's old now haha. She has so much to look forward to. I just hope and pray she'd be always happy and find her one true love. Ahhh, this means this tita has to start losing weight. I can probably expect weddings to start happening in the next few years.  

Here's a rundown for birthday posts I made throughout the years -

30th (my first post here was copied from my Friendster post)

35th

40th

45th

Get your butt moving ghorl, there's still so much life to live!

#CB//225 #StuckAtHomeDay/255 #WFH151 #StayHome #BeKind 


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Struggling with Change?

A year ago I decided to take a break. I was exhausted and spent. I was in a place where I could not give anything anymore. So I took two months off and got the rest I needed. I had one goal: clear my cache and recharge. 

Change is inevitable. At some point we start ageing more noticeably. I used to be able to travel to two different countries or three different cities within a week. I was even able to do that after heart surgery. Fast forward seven years my body has changed a lot. My energy has changed and sometimes I feel my output isn't the same as before.


But that is perfectly fine because your body will change, your energy will be different and so your output would change (you'd probably be smarter with more experience too). You have to remember that these changes are normal and don't blame yourself for it. 

You'd feel guilty and feel like you're letting people down. And maybe even feel like you failed. You shouldn't because the changes are normal. Me and my high school friends laugh about the changes. We're starting to ask each other what are the symptoms of menopause. Our needs and wants have changed. We care less about the noise, the chatter and prefer quiet. 

My body changed drastically when I had pulmonary embolism. Adjusting to my new lifestyle after heart surgery was easier than when I had PE. It was like I hit a wall and forced to stop everything. The important thing though is to be able to roll with the punches and always look at things positively.  

I am grateful for the support I am getting from my family, my colleagues and my friends. I've always been open about what I go through. I had a friend who once told me he was very sick and asked advise whether he should tell his team. I told him that he would need a lot of support in the coming months. He did and got all the support he needed. 

Thank you for your continued prayers my friends. 

#CB//224 #StuckAtHomeDay/254 #WFH150 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Why My Heart Went Whoopsies

I'm back to my usual cheery self after the staycation Sweetie and I had. My body is still recovering after my heart went whoopsies two weeks ago. My doctors ordered a lot of tests and they said my heart and lungs are okay. I was still baffled though what really happened. 

My heart went whoopsies because I had a viral infection. It's a mystery how I got it since I rarely go out. I could only trace it to a taxi driver who was coughing really bad when I boarded his taxi (he opened his window, pulled down his mask and coughed). Unfortunately the virus affected my heart and caused other issues. And that explains why my immune system was so angry. 

Whatever it was that afflicted me my body combated it and my mind eventually shooed it away. We have been taking all precautions, but I still picked up a virus. I was advised to just wear a fabric mask and that's probably how I picked up the germs. My other doctor advised it's better for me to use a surgical mask since it could protect me better. 

I'm feeling much better now and went for my physio session today. My PT said we'll take it slow until I get confident again. My doctors said I have nothing to worry about. I just need to eat well, get enough sleep, exercise and be happy. Next week I will have some tests which will hopefully show that I can get rid of one of my medications (the one that's making me heavy in the last two years). 

Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and love. Hugs to all. 


#CB//223 #StuckAtHomeDay/253 #WFH149 #StayHome #BeKind 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Elixir to Happiness

I found something that's a better way to be joyful on demand. I think it's an elixir to happiness. 

Giving. 

I was finally able to process today my donation for the relief efforts for Bicol. I chose to send it to Bicol because it is the hometown of my parents. I waited awhile because I wanted to check first if anyone from my family needed help. I'm so thankful everyone in my family is okay. 


I also realized what stresses me out. Saying no. I know that I have to prioritize projects and I have to say no to some things. It's hard for me whenever I have to turn down something. I know I should not feel guilty, but I do and it causes me a lot of stress. I just look at it now as a learning experience for the person who's trying to pass me work that they can do themselves. Then I just help by teaching them what to do. 

Giving is an amazing feeling. It's a much better feeling than feeling grateful. If feeling grateful doesn't give you a boost, give! 

A lot more people need help, if you can, please send help through any of the following:

Help efforts for Bicol relief through the Jesuits -

DEPOSIT DETAILS: Kindly send an email to rnrivera@ateneo.edu with a scan or photo of the deposit slip transaction for proper acknowledgment. God bless you for your generosity!
Account Name: Ateneo de Naga University
Bank: BPI, Naga Caceres Branch
Peso Savings: 8863-0478-04, Dollar Savings 8864-0093-02
Swift Code BOPIPHMM
BDO, Elias Angeles Branch
Peso Savings: 5970-114724, Dollar Savings: 5970-110745 Swift Code BNORPHMM
Overseas donors can send through this link. Please check "Ateneo de Naga University" as the donee institution and state for Typhoon Rolly (Goni) efforts" in the comments section.

My friend Ros in collaboration with #RockEdRelief has been organizing to send relief to Cagayan. you can find more information here

#CB//222 #StuckAtHomeDay/252 #WFH148 #StayHome #BeKind 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Life Must Go On

Hi! How are you? How have you been coping with this funny, funny not so funny year? I think all of us can collectively say that 2020 is one of the worst years ever. 

I started 2020 on shaky ground. I was on a long-break from work to rest and to "clear my cache". When I came back I was somehow okay, but not yet 100%. Then I was thrown in to crisis response mode (for edu) and it's a been a crazy roller coaster ride the last few months trying to help. I would have at least 12-15 meetings every day and in-between there was also a lot of program work to do. 

Yup, it has affected my health even though I try to cut off work by sundown. I've been accorded a different kind of body so my katawang lupa has been having a hard time coping with what I have to do. It's hard, but I still love what I do. I know I can't do this forever and I would need to eventually move on and do other things. 

I think all of us has had enough of this pandemic. The reality is we're all in limbo for now. No one has the answer on when this will end. The saddest thing for me is being far away from Miggy and my Mom. I've just been telling myself that in time I'll be with them again. 

A few weeks ago I watched a video about the Spanish Flu. I was wondering how they coped back then and how long it took before things got back to normal. It took about nine years. And even after nine years the virus still exists today (H1N1!!!). World War I was also ongoing during the Spanish Flu pandemic. I would also imagine there were natural disasters during that time. My grandparents were still kids during that time, I would probably ask them about that period if they were still alive. 

But life went on. My grandparents survived, got married, had children. Lived through World War II, Martial Law and we lived through the turbulent 80s, the horrid 90s blackouts, a multitude of natural disasters (Pinatubo, typhoons, Taal, etc.). I've lived through 2 open heart surgeries, survived several illnesses with high mortality rates and I'm just grateful to be alive. 

2020 may have brought us one bad situation after another. 2021 is just around the corner. We are all hoping that the new year will turn the tide. Let's have faith that things will change soon. 

Don't forget to look up and look at the future. 

#CB//221 #StuckAtHomeDay/251 #StayHome #BeKind 


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Healing from the Worst Typhoon I've Experienced

Our home flooded often when I was growing up because there's a creek at the back of our house. I almost drowned during #OndoyPH. The water came up to fast and I was only able to save my desktop computer. Everything else went under water, my laptop, passport, books, shoes, photo albums... everything. It was traumatizing and I couldn't help but cry when I see videos of what's happening back home now. The typhoons that passed the last few weeks have been ruthless. 


I remember after I cleaned up I was feeling the shock of what just happened. I was sitting in the kitchen with my Dad and I started to cry. He nipped it at the bud and he immediately re-framed me from wallowing in self-pity. He said those are just things and you can earn it back. 

Look into the future. That's what my Ate taught me when I had Miggy at a young age. She had me talk to someone who went through the same situation. It was like talking to the future me. And I did the same right after #OndoyPH and #PepengPH. A few days after the great flood I had to fly to Iloilo for an engagement. I didn't want to go anymore, but our parents pushed us to go. 

Going to Iloilo helped me a lot because I met many people who shared similar experiences. A year before #FrankPH badly damaged Iloilo. One of my friends said that her home was flooded from floor to ceiling. They told me about how they slowly got up from the setback. 

Our parents pushed me and Sweetie to go to Iloilo even though our homes were not fixed yet. Our wedding was scheduled 13 weeks after the typhoons. They wanted us to focus on starting anew. Aside from the inspiration from friends, we had many people who also supported us. We started our new life and built up our little family from almost nothing. 

Look up and look into the future. The sun is always waiting to rise in the horizon everyday. I thought I'd write about this today in case you have family and friends who need comfort and consolation. 

My thoughts and prayers for everyone going through hardship and trauma. May God bless you. 

If you can help, more information on how you can donate can be found here.

#CB//220 #StuckAtHomeDay/250 #StayHome #BeKind


Friday, November 13, 2020

Look Up and Take a Break

The last few weeks have been more stressful than usual. My body has been rebelling from the stress probably. My doctor said my blood test showed my immune system is angry about something. I think regular work stress plus worrying about the typhoons just got the better of me and wore down my body. 

My Kuya told me once when you're starting to wallow in negativity look up! Try it! Looking up helps break whatever it is you are worrying about. 

Disclaimer: This photo was taken 13 years ago!

So tonight I'm blogging from a higher floor and watching water instead of trees. We booked this break a month ago. We both needed it and I hope this short break would help calm down my whole being. 

I think the break is working. I'm watching blinking lights from a distance and it's hypnotizing me (it's been an hour since I started this post haha). My brain is having a hard time stringing words together! 

Anyhoo, I also learned a lesson from what's been happening the last few weeks. I need to learn to recognize early signs of distress and I should take a break when needed. Sometimes I push myself too hard. I need to remind myself that I need to take care of myself better if I want to be able to function better. 

So, look up and take a break. 

#CB//219 #StuckAtHomeDay/249 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Typhoon Ulysses

I barely slept last night also even though I'm far away from home. I was worried for my family and friends. Reading their tweets about the howling winds, strong rain reminded me of a few typhoons I've been through - OndoyBasyang and experiencing the winds of Yolanda in Baguio. 

The past three weeks has been one typhoon after another - #QuintaPH, #RollyPH (the supertyphoon), #SionyPH, #TonyoPH and now #UlyssesPH. Being far away from home is hard. I monitor the news and make sure my family is prepared for the typhoon. I must admit after overpreparing for the first four typhoons we kinda got lax preparing for #UlyssesPH. It was too late when I realized that it was a strong typhoon that would hit Manila. 

Typhoon Ondoy.

And thus the sleepless night. I was still able to call my Mom. It was already late and I asked her why she was still up. She said she couldn't sleep because they had no electricity and she was monitoring the typhoon. She said she'll be okay. When I woke up I checked the tweets coming from my city and I came across a tweet about the electric post across my Mom's home. A tree was hitting it and creating sparks. 

A friend reached out to me and helped call the barangay to have the tree cut. Another neighbor also said that the electric post at the back of Mom's house was also being hit by a tree. I really appreciate the help of my neighbors (guardian angels) who responded to my plea. I'm thankful that everyone was well and safe at home. My Mom's garden was not spared and we still need to check if anything else is damaged at home. 

I'm worried though about my 99-year old uncle in Marikina. I'm not sure if he's still in Provident Village or if he moved with my cousins. I'm still waiting to hear back from my cousin. Dad (my father-in-law) in Marikina experienced flooding at home and he's okay. I pray he doesn't get sick from walking in flood water. In Bicol, it's been hard to reach my Tita Olive, so I've been monitoring Mayor Nino Tayco's page for updates about Pasacao. 

A friend posted that #UlyssesPH brought one month worth of rain and that's why there's a lot of flooding. Just like #OndoyPh most of us did not expect this kind of damage that #UlyssesPH brought. Always over prepare, that's a key lesson I learned from this typhoon. 

If you're feeling really stressed about the typhoons, my Kuya's video here may help you. 

Please take care everyone and stay safe. 

#CB//218 #StuckAtHomeDay/248 #WFH147 #StayHome #BeKind


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Brain, Scorpion, Octopus

Thought I'd take a break from my morose posts about my health. I don't know what came over me, but I just suddenly remembered about the weird things I've tried eating in my past travels. 

I was in grade school when I got to try frog legs! Tita Rose and Tito Henry invited us to eat out with them at a Chinese restaurant in Makati. At the beginning of the meal they told us they were going to order frog legs so I could try it. I was so mortified! After much cajoling and reassurances by Tita Rose I finally tried it. As she promised it tasted like chicken! 

That was my baptism of fire on weird food. Before that my ultimate weird food was century egg! I was much younger when I tried it and I actually believed Tito Ben when he told me the egg was 100 years old haha. Good thing I liked it. So since that time I tried century egg and frog legs I've always been game in trying unusual food. 

One of the strangest dishes I've tried is goat brain. Yup. BRAIN. I was in Pakistan for a few days and our host brought us to a well-known restaurant that served goats brain. I considered Badar as my scout-brother because we've been teammates since 2006, so I felt I needed to try everything he wanted us to experience. So I tried it. I'm not sure if it was cooked or raw (let's just think it was cooked). It was pretty gooey and had a different texture. Let's just say that would probably be the first and last time I'd try it. 

The night before trying goat brain we had gone to a rooftop restaurant overlooking the Badshahi Mosque. There was no electricity, but we got a spot at the rooftop. We were served the main ingredient of soup number 5 -- grilled. I was the only one who tried it. It was basically grilled meat, but it was tough. I chased it down with soda hehe. 

Fast forward to a year later, we were in Vietnam for a series of events. One night we ended up at a grill and they ordered scorpion. Since that was just a few months after my heart surgery I just tried a small piece. They warned that if scorpion isn't cooked right it can potentially poison you. I remember I felt really warm after eating the small bite and it lasted for a few hours. I just drank a lot of water to wash down the weird feeling. 

Most recent strange dish I tried was raw octopous. Luckily the octopus was cut up already, but it was still moving when I put it in my mouth. I dropped it in soy sauce so it was quite salty. I swallowed it whole haha, so it was just like your regular sushi to me. After that I gobbled up the rest of the sushi they served. Video of that experience is here.

So my mantra is to just try food even though it's unusual for me. I do tend to stick to favorites whenever we try a new restaurant, but if I'm traveling and I'm offered to try anything I'd try it. What about you? Would you try strange food?

#CB//217 #StuckAtHomeDay/247 #WFH146 #StayHome #BeKind


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

You are Always Worth It

 "Be worth love, and love with come." - Louisa May Alcott


I'd like to think I'm in a better place today than I was a few days ago. I go through a roller coaster of emotions whenever I get sick. My seatmate asked me once how I cope when I get sick. He asked me this question after having a flu. He said he can't imagine how I cope again and again when I get sick. 

It's a struggle. The moment I feel pain I start getting sucked in a black hole. It went really bad last year, I had to take a break (it is probably PTSD). One thing I was told I needed to do was to love myself. It took awhile, but I eventually learned the reason why I had to do that for myself. 

(Source: LoveYourselfPH)


My doctor called me several times today. He had been studying my tests and took time to explain things to me. I told him I really appreciate the effort he put in connecting the dots and giving me advise on what to do next. He said, "You have suffered enough and you are a nice person. You are worth it." 

My heart is full. I am so grateful to my doctor for putting in so much effort to read the reports. It gave me so much hope and the strength to keep fighting. Thank you my dear doctor <3 

For my friends who are also struggling, please always remember... you are worth it. And thank you to all my family and friends who have been reaching out to check on me and to pray for me. I really appreciate it. <3 <3 

#CB//216 #StuckAtHomeDay/246 #WFH145 #StayHome #BeKind


Monday, November 9, 2020

Bouncing Back from this Setback

The events in the last two weeks have been challenging. The good news is my heart is okay, but my doctor is still deciding whether I should have more tests. I missed seeing my other doctor last Saturday, so I need to re-schedule that. Since I had no diagnosis said my doctor said just take it slow for now, stay happy and eat oatmeal. 

I'm as baffled as my doctors on what really happened, but I'm leaving it up to them to figure it out. There's no use for me to be anxious about it. I need to focus my energy on getting well. I'm still experiencing some of the symptoms off and on, so I'm taking it slow for now. 

This was at my cardiovascular surgeon's office. My other doctor made tsismis to me he did another pro-bono delicate heart surgery for one of the hospital guards. A week after my surgery he did a heart surgery for a baby. My doctor is truly a lifesaver, you need to see the photos of all the babies he has saved. 

I've been through this several times. My doctors think it may be the scars in my lungs causing the issue. I previously had severe pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. I survived it but it left scars in my lungs. I only found out about the scars after heart surgery. My doctor asked me if I had a previous lung operation. I said no and from then we always wondered why I have scars in my lungs. 

If you read up on pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria (legionnaire's disease), the symptoms are very similar to COVID19. Overall mortality rate is 5-10% (source: WHO). It is a nasty disease and it took me a year, a miracle for me to get well. It's one of my battle scars that's now causing issues. Unfortunately all my medical reports from that time were damaged during typhoon Ondoy. The only record I have is the blood test my doctor here in Singapore did a few weeks after I got discharged from the hospital. 

So this is something I need to ask my doctors to investigate further. It might be scars in my lungs causing issues or my unusually prolific vein system. Both issues cannot be solved by medication or an operation. I will need to get myself to work harder to heal -- through exercise, better nutrition, more positive vibes and a prayer for a miracle. 

#CB//215 #StuckAtHomeDay/245 #WFH144 #StayHome #BeKind


Sunday, November 8, 2020

There is Always Hope

Before I went to bed last night I saw the good news that Joe Biden is now president-elect in the US. I had been monitoring the count the last few days. I think everyone across he globe has been watching the progress of the counting. The outcome affects every one of us. 

What's even more amazing is the US is getting it's first female vice-president. She is also a black and South Asian woman. Her win brings so much hope and promise for all minorities. America was always known to be the land of the free. The land few years though there has been so much unrest and discrimination. I could not fathom how there can be discrimination in this day and age. 

It feels like 2020's bad vibes is going to end soon. I'm hoping and praying for it since it's just been non-stop bad news after another. Today's good news is a symbol of hope for all of us. Things will get better as long as we work on it together. 

Vice-president elect Kamala Harris'  speech resonates this hope --

"But while I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last.
Because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.
And to the children of our country, regardless of your gender, our country has sent you a clear message:Dream with ambition, lead with conviction, and see yourself in a way that others might not see you, simply because they’ve never seen it before.
And we will applaud you every step of the way."

#SanaAll

#CB//214 #StuckAtHomeDay/244 #StayHome #BeKind

Saturday, November 7, 2020

My Heart Went Whoopsies

The past ten days have been very challenging for me health-wise. My doctors have been hesitant to give a diagnosis just yet until they understand the full picture. 

I oftentimes ask myself why did God give me a very unusual body. I was always different even when I was a child. And then eventually my congenital heart issues progressed and I had to under go mitral valve repair. My doctors discovered during my surgery that the structure of my veins were very different. I had many nurses who came in to look at me because they said it was uncommon to meet someone like me. 

At my fave doctor's office. I was on the same spot, also sitting on a wheelchair almost 8 years ago. 
He's been my doctor for 17 years now.

My doctor said though that my issues have been there all my life and any procedures or medicines I take should be carefully scrutinized. I do get frustrated because there's so much I want to do. I believe though that you are given the cross you can bear so I try my best to cope and serve the mission assigned to me. 

On the bright side, I am very grateful to have a team of doctors who really care for me. Yesterday my respiratory doctor was really concerned about my condition and insisted I immediately see my cardiologist. I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon in my cardiologist's office for tests. One thing I like about my doctors is they recognize that I'm an unusual case and they need to give me customized care. 

So that's what I've been going through the past ten days. I'm just resting at home, sleeping when I feel like sleeping. I should probably see my other doctor next week. I missed seeing him today because I had to wait for the results of my test. In the meantime, I pray, try to live healthier and rest for now. 

Pray for me okay?

#CB//213 #StuckAtHomeDay/243 #WFH144 #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, November 6, 2020

Ikea Meatballs, I Miss You!

I'm a creature of habit especially when it comes to food. I like trying out new restaurants, but I tend to order the same thing when I go back. Sweetie is the complete opposite, he likes trying out new dishes. It's a hit or miss thing and we usually end up laughing when it's a miss. We just chalk it up to experience. 

Would you believe I've even built a regular order list when we order via Grab Food? Hahaha. To mix things up I usually ask Sweetie to chose where to order so I'm forced to try something new. It may be the same dish (i.e. sweet and sour pork), but at least it's a different restaurant haha. 


One of my all time favorite food since I moved here to Singapore is Ikea's meatballs! I think everyone does and whenever friends visit that's the other place we go to also (aside from buffet places!). The last time we were able to visit Ikea was just before the circuit breaker. Today I got lucky. After spending hours and hours with my doctors Sweetie said I should have some comfort food. 

It was almost four already when we ate lunch. Sweetie did the ordering and came back with so much food! We ended up bringing home half the food and we had it for dinner. We immediately went home after eating. No energy for shopping and my doctor would scold me if I did. 

I remember that time after heart surgery my doctor was encouraging me to walk more. My family would bring me to Ikea Tampines to walk around. When my doctor asked if I was doing any walking I told him I went around Ikea Tampines. He laughed and thought it was a good idea since you're really forced to walk around. Nothing like reaching your cardio goals while shopping haha. 

I saw a recipe of Ikea meatballs online and it's so similar to the recipe of my Japanese hamburgers. You can just use the same recipe, make smaller balls add some gravy and jam. Let me know if you try it! 



#CB//212 #StuckAtHomeDay/242 #WFH143 #StayHome #BeKind


Thursday, November 5, 2020

The Beach, I Miss You

I miss the feeling of walking barefoot on a sandy beach. Feeling the warm sun on my face. Breathing in fresh air. And then taking a dip in the cool water. 

I had a hard time selecting photos for this post. 
This is one of fave places, Carbin Reef.

I love going to the beach. I oftentimes find myself looking outside the window wishing I was at a nice tropical island. I was only 8 months old when my parents started bringing me to the beach. We'd go to Camangui in Pasacao every year when I was a child. My family always had a hard time getting me out of the water. I never learned and was always sunburnt by the second day. 

I haven't changed. I try to go to the beach at least once a year. At least we were able to go to Bohol last December. We spent a few days there as a family to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. It was a fun few days. Looking back we should have spent a whole week there. 

Super miss my Miggy and Mom.

The beach also reminds me of the wonderful food you can have while on vacation! Fresh fruits like mango, watermelon, honeydew, lanzones, rambutan, chico, banana. Special local food inihaw na isda, barbecue, mangga't bagoong, ensalada, kinilaw, sinigang, kare-kare and the multitude of yummy Filipino food. I think I have just effectively brought back my appetite just thinking about all the food I normally eat whenever I'm by the sea. 

Back when we could do jump shots hahaha.

I have so many happy images flashing through my mind now. I miss going to the beach with my family and friends. What about you? What do you miss most about going to the beach?

Miss the beach? I have many more beach posts here and here.


#CB//211 #StuckAtHomeDay/241 #WFH142 #StayHome #BeKind