Friday, May 20, 2022

Kitchen Re-opening!

Alas! It's rainy season again according to PAGASA. Yaaaaas! It's been raining everyday for a week now. I am happy because it's not so hot anymore. More importantly, my plants are very happy because they're getting properly hydrated and getting vitamins from the rain. Our drum is also almost full now since we've been collecting rainwater. 

I haven't cooked for two months now. It was too hot for me to stay in the kitchen for long periods of time. We've also been eating in the craft room to avoid the heat. I had heat exhaustion in March and I realized that's how fragile I am. The only time I go out is when I water the plants late in the afternoon. Well, since the weather is cooler now I was finally able to cook again last night!

It was Daddy's birthday yesterday, so I made some of his beef mustasa dish. I made it with liver spread this time and it brought back happy memories of Dad teaching me how to make it. It's the only dish I learned from him because he would cook so fast and never measured anything. I prepare food like it's a science experiment by measuring everything haha. Daddy learned to cook from the original cooks of Casa Moderna in Naga (used to be called Moderna Bakery). He said that's where he hung out after school and they taught him how to cook. 

Here's how to make my Dad's beef mustasa dish.

My next target is to make adobo. I'll start with easy dishes since I'm still re-building my stamina. The booster shot did a number on me and I'm still reeling from its effects. Hibernating from the heat is done and now I need to get moving to regain the strength I lost. If the rain continues maybe I can bake some cheese cupcakes soon. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A Few Days with La Sallian Brothers in Rome

Br. Armin Luistro, FSC yesterday was elected to be the first Filipino superior general of the Brothers of Christian Schools. This was really happy news for me. I'm sure he'll be able to contribute a lot to the La Sallian community worldwide because of his vast experience. I was also happy to see photos and videos of the occasion and it reminded me of the time I was able to spend with the La Sallian brothers in Rome a few years ago. 

My lazy blog post in 2020 didn't fully capture the amazing experience I had when I spent time with them. The time I spent at the La Salle headquarters in Rome (Casa generaliza istituto Fratelli Scuole Cristiane) is a cherished memory. I had been mourning the death of Br. Gene Tiangco, FSC. He took me under his wing when I was a student and he passed away a few months before I went to Rome. Spending time with the La Sallian brothers healed me. I felt the same love and care Br. Gene showed me and I knew in time I would find someone like him again. 

There was nothing but joy when I arrived in Rome. The name of the La Sallian brother who picked us up at the airport escapes me. It was a jolly ride from the airport and I learned a lot about the history of the Generalata from him. First order of the day was eating at the cafeteria. Then we had a short tour of the place. We thought we were going to stay at Casa La Salle (a hotel), but they made us stay in their quarters. Sweetie came with me, but we slept in separate beds haha. We also whispered to each other when we talked because we didn't want to disturb the brothers. We later on found out that they usually watch Netflix in the evenings LOL. 

The three most memorable experiences for me were:

(1) Realizing that the "ball" in the church that the Brother was hand gesturing to me was actually St. La Salle's head. [photo on this post]

(2) Seeing the relics of the saints. I was only familiar with them because the buildings in our campus was named after them. 

(3) Br. Bob Schneider, FSC (the most recent superior general) showing us the hallway which held the paintings of all previous superior generals. From St. La Salle they were able to build over a thousand schools across 77 countries in the past 300 years (source). It really does take just one spark to get a fire going.

I was also with Br. Ricky when I first saw St. Peter's Square. We walked from the Generalata to the train station and then walked again to the restaurant. I fell behind so Br. Ricky stayed with me (I had just started my treatment for pulmonary embolism when I went to Rome). 

The brothers did not want me to come home haha. I wish I had taken up the offer to stay there and teach them tech. I also wish I had taken up the offer to stay longer with them and see Rome with them. I turned down the offer because it didn't seem appropriate at that time and maybe I would have allowed them to adopt me if I hung out longer hahaha. 

Happy, grateful memories that I would always cherish. Maybe someday I'll get to visit them again. I pray all of them are well <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Breakfast Date with Sweetie

Sweetie surprised me the other day when he told me were going to go grocery shopping in person. I was shookt! I've been ordering groceries online since April 2020 and found his request unusual. I guess I've been moping around since Monday last week he probably thought I needed a change of environment. I was even more shookt when he told me we'll have breakfast out. OMG! This was all new to me. 

We attempted to go out yesterday, but I woke up with a headache so it was postponed. I barely had any sleep last night (#anxiety), but I pushed myself to get out of bed. I looked forward to eating something other than oatmeal (my cardio's mandate is to eat oatmeal for breakfast). Ahhh, it was such a joy to eat at Cafe Breton. The last time we ate at Cafe Breton was many years ago when Sweetie kidnapped me for a quick date. 

I got the excalibur and Sweetie got the dracula. The crepe was delicious as usual. It was my first time to try the excalibur and the combination of ham, emmental cheese, fresh cream and asparagus sauteed with onions and mushrooms was really tasty. I paired the meal with a cup of cappuccino. It was absolutely fulfilling since we waited years to eat there again. 

After breakfast we ran some errands. I was almost wiped out by noon, so rested at Krispy Kreme. They have a nice bundle for 2 at only PhP225. It includes 2 iced coffees and 2 original glazed doughnuts. It was a great refreshment and it's always a good idea to be full before doing groceries! Hahaha. Of course, we brought home food from Makati Supermart Coffee Shop for our late lunch with Miggy. 

It was a great day to go out. Still taking a lot of precautions and socially distancing ourselves to be safe. I was able to make 3k steps and it felt good, but I was pretty wiped out halfway through our grocery list. Probably need a check-up soon just to be on the safe side. 

Have a happy day everyone! Let your light continue to shine. 

#StaySafe #BeKind

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

When Your Parents Grow Old

I always thought my Mom would remain the same forever. The feisty tiger mom  who made sure I would learn to be independent and successful. I was lucky to be the youngest because she was much more strict with my siblings. She was still strict until I finally moved out of the house when I got married. 

Mom was our rock when we lost Dad. I didn't even see her cry. She took care of everything and just kept busy with her garden and crafts after. We were so worried we had Titay move in with her. She ended up taking care of Tito Mon and Titay until they passed on. She's the strong one. To her being too emotional is nonsense. 

She's now 86 years old and she has more energy than me. She still spends a lot of time gardening and doing crafts. Her memory though isn't as sharp anymore, but she's feisty and stubborn as ever. She refuses to move in with me and wants to remain independent. We're lucky because she has no maintenance meds and just takes vitamins. 

I realized though that we should have mandated to take over managing her home and finances. That's how the thief took advantage of her. I asked to take over it when I got home last November, but she refused saying that things were working well for her. Good thing the bank started sending automated messages whenever a withdrawal was made. That's how I caught the thief. So for those with elderly parents, do check their finances because bad people can take advantage of them. 

I've been doing Mom's groceries. The good thing about it I can order more healthy food for her. I remove unhealthy food from the grocery list that's sent to me every other week, i.e. noodles or canned goods. My siblings also send her food every so often. The bills are easier to manage now since I've been able to enroll all of them online. Gcash has been my best friend for paying bills haha. 

Taking care of an elderly parent should seriously be part of what they teach in school. Everyone has to go through it and it's easier if you understand what you need to do. I grew up thinking my parents would remain the same forever because that's what they told me. Mom made it appear that things were going well in her home. If not for the bank's SMSs I wouldn't have known the extent of the damage the thief was doing. 

Keep your parents happy while they're still around. Give them what they want even though sometimes it's not practical hehe. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, May 16, 2022

How I Deal with Trolls

It was late 2006/early 2007 when I first encountered a troll. I was new at my job and he targeted me. He even threatened to email our president to tell him about me. The troll did it through blog posts and everything he said was not true. I immediately reported it to our PR lead and he advised me to ignore it and don't engage. The troll even made me a mistress! He did it several times, but I just ignored it. 

Good thing I was given that advise because the troll just got tired and stopped. A few years ago I was the target of trolls again. Friends alerted me about it. They were discussing my political affiliations and beliefs. They couldn't find any because I never really posted anything. I focused on my work and just continued to do the job at hand. 

It went on for some time and they started to uncover who my friends were. I was worried that they would target my family next. I think it helped I had close friends in Davao because that confused them a lot! I did the same thing and alerted the PR lead in the Philippines. She also told me to ignore it and they'll take care of it if it escalates. They stopped when I told a close friend about it. Almost immediately the trolling stopped. (I honestly don't know what he did to stop them or what his involvement with them was). 

So I continue to ignore them. Nowadays it's harder to identify real people versus fake accounts. I noticed this when I was still in Singapore. The "Filipinos in Singapore" group had a lot of trolls in it and they were pretty nasty people. I would randomly check profiles and lot were new accounts, obviously fake. It was useless to engage because they would just attack you if you tried correcting them. The group eventually became this place of negativity so I just stopped reading. Honestly, the tech companies who own these apps should do a better job of policing it. Also, companies who have been involved with these troll armies should be held accountable.

The best way to protect yourself from trolls is not to engage them. If you encounter one, report their profile. It's also important to make sure that your online properties are kept private. Don't just keep accepting invites. If you must do something, just share verified sources (preferably from valid news outlets). 

Family and friends are best enjoyed in person and in real life. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn

Apparently the quote I used yesterday from Bishop Rey wasn't really made by him, but by another person. I only found out from schoolmates who pointed out things that were untrue. Another instance was the supposed interview on ANC. It was shared by a trusted friend. Another friend dispelled it. Goes to show that it's very easy to fall for fake news. 

At this time it is best to check the source of information. With so much disinformation happening, it might be best to avoid social media for now. I'm not completely staying offline, but I've kept myself from re-sharing what I read. Taking everything with a grain of salt for now since I don't really know anymore what's real and what's not. 

It's just noise and it won't help my mental health. I told myself after getting an anxiety attack last Monday that I have to protect myself better. It will probably be like this for a long time. One thing I learned this week is silence is golden. It is the best way to center yourself again. With so much uncertainty, it's really important to be grounded so you don't get swallowed by it.

“Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” - St. Thomas More

Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Dear First Time Voter

I hate to break it to you, but it won't be the first time you will be disappointed. I have been voting for almost 3 decades now and only one presidential and vice presidential candidate I've voted for won, PNoy and VP Leni. I've had so many TOTGAs, but it never stopped me from hoping and praying that someday the right leader comes along and gets elected. 

Art by Tarantadong Kalbo

As Bishop Rey, Diocese of Imus said, "I am beginning to think that God never meant for Leni to win. Here mission was to waken us up... God showed us that if we get together and worked together, things happen. And maybe that brief moment was actually a glimpse of heaven." You may have been too young during PNoy's time, but we had good governance and that translated to a better economic environment which brought in a lot of investors. Corrupt officials were caught (pork barrel scam) and our debt was reduced which gave us good marks for credit.[more here] Of course, the administration had it's ups and downs, but I was so inspired and contributed back to the country where I could. 

The past six years was full of disappointment. I couldn't even continue the crisis response projects I started during the previous administration. I let things stew for awhile and then had the opportunity to contribute again. It was harder, but I pushed hard until I succeeded (read here). It was challenging, but I told myself to focus on the students and what was needed. That was what helped me have the strength to fight for what was right.

I know it hurts. I have friends both older and younger than me who are still having a hard time. Embrace the pain, but learn for it. Allow it to make you stronger. In time you will be able to use it to help others and contribute back to your country. We're lucky now because VP Leni and Senator Kiko are there to lead us and hone us to be better citizens.

"At alam ko ang aking kaya, alam ko ang hindi 
Alam ko ang kailangan upang makapagsilbi 
Hangga't may kabutihan, hangga't may pag-ibig 
Liwanag ang mananaig"
- Nica del Rosario, from the song "Rosas"

#BeKind #StaySafe