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  

Friday, June 19, 2020

Freedom Day!

Today is the start of the phase 2 re-opening. This means retail shops have re-opened and you can finally eat out! Some restrictions still apply. There's something comforting about the fact that you can go out, visit your old haunts and see family and friends (as long as you keep within the limitation).

My tomato plant started to flower! Great symbol to new beginnings. 

If you're in Singapore, what did you guys do?

#CB//74 #WFH57 #StuckAtHomeDay/104 #StayHome #BeKind 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Giant Ant and Lechon!

Early this morning while visiting my plants on the balcony a giant ant appeared! It just sauntered out from under one of the tomato plant pots and explored the area. I'm not sure how it got to our balcony which is more than 200 feet from the ground. I asked my friends what it was and one said it was a Japanese carpenter ant and another said it was just an ordinary giant ant.

I've been watching AntsCanada on YouTube and the first thought that came to mind was it's probably someone's pet! Haha. I can't imagine how an ant can climb over twenty floors. We haven't gone out for a long time too so the only way it could've reached our balcony is go up the side of the building from the ground or it may have escaped it's pet cage. I was planning to catch it and ask around if anyone lost their ant! It was gone by afternoon though. Bye-bye Mr. Ant.

Sweetie surprised me and ordered lunch from a lechon place from Novena. Oh my it was so makasalanan! He also ordered some lumpia since I was craving for it the other day. I was looking forward to eating lunch I shared with my colleagues that I was going to eat lechon. I was surprised when they all knew what lechon was and shared my excitement haha.

I have happy lechon memories. That time when I was a child and my Dad with my neighbor Titos tried to roast a huge pig by the seashore. They didn't expect that it would take 12 hours to roast the whole pig! They started in the morning and we got to eat the lechon late at night already. Then there was the time right after the GSA summit in 2013 when we celebrated the end of the event by eating at that famous Cebu lechon place across SM Cebu. And then that time when everyone went hungry in my Dad's law office because I declared that the tiny roasted pig was kawawa. They had to hide in another office so they could cut up the lechon de leche

Tomorrow Singapore is starting phase 2 of the reopening. I've been home now for 103 days. I've only gone out for really essential stuff like doctor appointments, the move and the home turnover. Physiotherapy re-started two weeks ago and I do that once a week now. We decided to stay put for now and see how things go after two weeks. Still need to take a lot of precautions to be sure.

#CB/73 #WFH56 #StuckAtHomeDay103 #StayHome #BeKind 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Rainbows Make Me Smile

I super love rainbows. It was raining so hard most of the day. I just finished work and was switching to my personal Chromebook when I looked out the window and saw a beautiful rainbow. It was probably there already for awhile, but I was busy rushing something and only saw the last ten minutes it was there.

A surprise rainbow this afternoon!

Rainbows make me happy! To me it brings so much positivity and the hope that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I associate rainbows with happiness. I remember my parents would always excitedly point it out to me whenever a rainbow appears. And I still get excited whenever I see a rainbow. It brings out the bebeh in me.

I think this was in Manila last January. 

I love rainbows so much I use rainbow colors for my quilt projects. I made this beautiful rainbow inspired quilt blanket for a friend who gave birth last year.

A quilt pillow!

Tried baking a rainbow cake!

I used to stick to one color for periods of time, but I've just been getting whatever color fancies me the last decade. I just want things to be fun. What about you? What simple things make you happy?

#CB/72 #WFH55 #StuckAtHomeDay102 #StayHome #BeKind 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Losing Someone So Young

I woke up to the news that one of the students I worked with in a program passed away due to kidney failure. He was one of the shy ones in his batch. I normally read the updates of these students (they're now all working!) since a number of them have become friends. I just read their updates in the background and I'm always happy to see their achievements. There are those who share updates on their start-up companies, career progress, getting married, having kids, travels and odd random stuff. My heart is always full seeing them thrive.

I've lost a couple of friends in the last couple of years, most of them younger than me. There are times when I think about how they would do things in a given situation. Or how they would react to story. Or how they would just suddenly dance for joy when their favorite song comes up. I find solace in the fact that they've gone ahead because they finished their mission and they've been called back by God.

Farewell JM. Please say hi to my loved ones up there.

#CB/71 #StuckAtHomeDay101 #StayHome #BeKind   

Monday, June 15, 2020

Do I have Italian Genes?

I am the youngest in my generation in our clan -- both sides. Being the youngest has it's advantages and disadvantages. As the youngest you have the bunso privilege and you can kinda get away with a lot of stuff. The disadvantage is missing meeting the elders of the family. I grew up only knowing my Mama Lola since my other grandparents passed on even before I was born. I spent a lot of time with my Mama Lola growing up, but I really didn't get to ask her a lot of questions.

I would have loved to know my lolos and my Dad's mother, Lola Natalia. Because of this I've taken a keen interest on understanding my ancestry a bit better. I know from my Dad that his parents had eloped because at that time Filipino-Chinese marriages were not allowed. I never met any relative from Lola Natalia's side.

I had found a painting in a museum in San Pablo that looked a lot like her. I took a photo of it and showed it to my Dad. He said it was her. I reached out to the museum, but they never responded to me. One of the caretakers said that it was the aunt of the owner, but they didn't know where she was already. So that remains a mystery to me.

One of my cousins has our full family tree. I only found out last night that it was given to Tito Ben by an ambassador from Mexico who told him they were related. My cousin told us last night that someone from Italy reached out to him and said he had family who had migrated to Spain (the Mexico) and the Philippines. I always thought our clan was originally from Spain, it never occurred to me that there was a precursor from that.

My Mama Lola and Papa Lolo. 

This is all new to me and of course my cousin said to be cautious about taking it as fact because we still need to make sure that this person who reached out to him is real. I told him that this information is really interesting because it explains why a number of us have thalassemia (Mediterranean anemia) and why I can eat spaghetti every single day. And probably why I had that same feeling of being at home when I visited Rome (it was the exact same feeling when I visit Taiwan). Maybe it was my genes getting all excited.

I'm still thinking whether it would make sense to ask my cousin to introduce this person to all of us (and whether it's safe). It's just good to know a bit more about where we all came from. My cousin said that the family branches in Spain, Italy and Mexico all used similar names and had very similar professions as well. It would be interesting to someday meet long-lost relatives for both sides of my family.

What do you think?

#CB/70 #StuckAtHomeDay100 #StayHome #BeKind   

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Finally Baked Pandesal!

I had to work up the courage to bake pandesal because I did not want to be disappointed. I grew up eating pandesal almost everyday. It's how my Mom introduced me to coffee. When I was a child she'd give me pandesal dipped in coffee. I usually eat pandesal without any filling, but it's good with anything and I really mean anything.

It is best to eat pandesal fresh from the oven and that's why in the Philippines there are a lot of corner bakeries. When I was younger bakeries were not really "branded". If it would have a name it would usually be named after the family running it. Now there are a number of branded bakeries in the Philippines and cake shops introduced bread in their line-up many years ago. My favorite pandesal now when I'm in Manila is from Pan de Manila.

Which brings me to my first attempt at baking pandesal. I watched a gazillion YouTube videos and read a lot of recipes online to learn how to properly make pandesal. It took me this long to make it by myself because it's so easy to find in Manila. In Singapore though it's pretty expensive to buy and I always thought it takes so long to bake pandesal.

It does, but the hours I spent baking pandesal is so worth it. My first attempt was a success. We had to make it a point not to gobble it all up in one sitting! I liked it best with cheese and mayonnaise. Sweetie tried it with butter, jam and I think peanut butter. Maybe next time I'll double up the recipe so we can have more and so I can share to my friends who live nearby.

Have you tried baking pandesal? What's your favorite type of pandesal? Original? Cheese pandesal? Ube and cheese pandesal? Comment down below :)

#CB/69 #StuckAtHomeDay99 #StayHome #BeKind  

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Dreaming of My Future Home

One of the things that tickled my curiousity the last few months being stuck at home is my future home. In the last decade I have drastically downsized my home. From living in a bungalow all my life we moved to a two floor apartment, a duplex, and then we got our own place. For a few years in Singapore I lived together with a neighbor so I just fit in all my things in a bedroom. It was when Miggy and Sweetie moved to Singapore when we rented our own flat.

I've gotten used to living in a smaller space. My childhood home had so much space. My Mom asks me every so often that I should just go back there with my family. As much as I love to live in a home with so much space I dread having to clean it. I've learned to love living in a smaller space because it helps me focus only on essential things (a.k.a. it helped me downsize my stuff).

Live by the mountain or sea? Live high up or ground level? 

Our place in Manila though is quite small and I get a lot of bruises just walking about our bedroom (I have flat feet!). I need help to get our place to have proper storage. I'm thinking of having it changed to two bedrooms only. I've been thinking about it for two years now and hope I could get things going this year. We'll see.

Long term though it's not really practical to live in a condo in Manila. It's still better to live in a house in a village since the association dues are cheaper. Should we go back and live with Mom? Or find a smaller house to live in. I have no plans yet right now, but I have been indulging in watching real property videos. Here's a few channels I watch -

Big yeyemenin house viewing
Practical sized houses (in Paranaque)
Tiny homes

I remember when I was a child I wanted to become an architect. There was a huge gap to that dream though -- my drawing skills do not exist. I used to draw home layouts and practiced it while playing Lego. I only recalled this the last few months I've been stuck at home. Funny how things from the past come back unexpectedly.

I've lived in 8 different homes in the past 10 years. That has given me a better idea of what I want in my future permanent home. I want it to be just the right size (read as: size that's easy to clean). It should have enough space to move around, enough storage and space for our hobbies. I'm not sure yet if I'd still want to live in the city or move to the province when I go back home.

What about you? Are you now in your permanent home? Or are you expecting to live somewhere else eventually?

#CB/68 #StuckAtHomeDay98 #StayHome #BeKind  

Friday, June 12, 2020

Kalayaan 2020

Maligayang araw ng Kalayaan sa lahat ng aking mga kababayan! (Happy independence day to all my compatriots!).

It's been 122 years since my country declared independence from Spain. Throughout the history of the Philippines we've had to declare independence many times. I guess we're just super lovable people that other countries always want to take over us. Okay, it's probably not because we are lovable people, but because we have so much natural resources and others just want to take advantage of that. It's been a bad habit we fall into. We seriously need to think for ourselves and stop this dependence on others (or more appropriately stop allowing others to take advantage of us!).

Which brings my thoughts on the matter of being independent. To be honest my sister was at some point very impatient to see me independent. For years she badgered me to move out of our parents house. I almost did, but my Mom said that it would break my Dad's heart. So Miggy and I stayed with them until I married. We moved 5 minutes away from them and eventually moved two minutes away from them.

Milestone day with our city hall's flag.
This was the day we got the title for our property. :)

I am now living a super independent life. I say super independent because we're far away from family. I used to be so dependent on my parents to get me out of scrapes I get into. All that went away when I lost my Dad and I realized then that I had to be more independent and in return be more helpful to my Mom. It was hard, but moving to another country really helps you to grow up. I hope that's something Miggy would learn. He made the decision to go back home and find his way through life. I hope giving him that freedom would help steer him to his niche.

I think this is what my country needs to do. We individually need to select leaders based on what we all collectively need. Not choose leaders because they give what we personally need. If you look at Philippine history, we had great states-persons  as leaders. We had Lapu-lapu who defeated Magellan. We had those fearless heroes who declared independence from Spain. We had the "Senate that said no". For our generation, we need leaders who would really care for Filipino citizens and who would protect what is rightfully ours.

#CB/67 #WFH52 #StuckAtHomeDay97 #StayHome #BeKind  

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Remembering my First Officemates

It's been a long time since I thought about my first officemates. Fresh out of school I joined a telco. I went through all the motions of going through the interviews, exam and the required paperwork. The first two weeks was spent in training and then I eventually met my teammates.

I don't have any photos left from that era.
One of the buildings somewhere in this photo was my office.

The first few months wasn't what I expected. We were part of the pioneer employees of the telco and because we were growing quite fast we spent a few months sharing one table. We were also situated in the executive floor, a stones throw away from the big bosses. Now the telco has multiple office across the country.

I guess because we were all a bunch of fresh grads we were a tight team. We spent a lot of time together in and outside of the office. We were required to attend a lot of events. In contrast during the day we'd go to very odd places. I was assigned hotels and supermarkets (so that's probably why I love going to supermarkets whenever I travel). We adjusted as needed since we managed new products that needed to be brought to the market.

I don't remember much of the work I did since it's been a loooong time. I remember the girls - Fe, Berna, Pam, Michelle, Angie, Donna, Sheila and there was Leo. I haven't seen most of them for more than a decade now and have no idea where most them are. I have many fond memories with them and checked my archives if I have any photos of them. We had a lot of photos that were taken with a film camera. Unfortunately I think all my photos perished during Typhoon Ondoy.

Thing have changed a lot since they were my officemates. I loved them dearly and hope they are all doing fine. I just thought of them today because I saw it was Michelle's birthday yesterday (happy birthday Mitch!). If ever I get to see them again it will probably be just like yesterday when we would go through our daily grind.

What about you? Do you have any fond memories of your first team?

#CB/66 #WFH51 #StuckAtHomeDay96 #StayHome #BeKind  

Wednesday, June 10, 2020


"Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily, even if you had no title or position." -- Brian Tracy

I am having a hard time put my thoughts into words tonight. Sometimes a dark, ugly cloud passes by to rain on your parade. It's sad especially when someone wields their power over you to take something precious. It's even sadder when they don't really understand the value of the thing.

#CB/65 #WFH50 #StuckAtHomeDay95 #StayHome #BeKind  

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Two Months Since We Moved!

Two months ago we moved to our new apartment. We love this new place because it's allowed us to try new things. The first few weeks were hard since we had to make our home livable and organized. We are so relieved we made the decision to move before our lease ended. Moving helped us cope better with the movement restrictions. Having a balcony makes a huge difference.

The funny thing is we haven't explored our new area. We are sandwiched between two parks! We have a great view of one of the parks. The park has been empty, but we've been seeing more people jogging the past week. I'm content just to see the park and the birds flying around for now. Someday we'll get the chance to walk through the park.

My lunchmates recommended this area. They are in the building beside us, but we haven't seen them in person since we moved! They've been able to go to the grocery together (social distancing of course!), but because of my medical conditions it's safer for me to just stay home. Someday we'll get to visit the nearby shops and get to know the stores where we've been ordering food.

I think aside from learning to bake bread what makes me happy just being home is learning how to garden! I've been hovering over my plants like a true blue plant parent haha. Head over to my gardening blog to check out my plantdemic adventures!

#CB/64 #WFH49 #StuckAtHomeDay94 #StayHome #BeKind  

Monday, June 8, 2020

Monday Moon!

Oh wow! We were hanging the laundry just now in our balcony when Sweetie let out a surprised sound. I immediately asked what was wrong and he said, "Look at the moon!"

Usually at this time of the evening (ten-ish) we don't see the moon anymore, so we were really surprised to see it tonight. It had this strange orange glow which changed to it's usual white pallor within 5 minutes. So this was a nice rare treat from nature.

This beautiful sight reminded me that you should look far away too. My Ate taught me this lesson when I had Miggy at a young age. She wanted me to see what was waiting for me in the future. One of her friends called me up and told me about her life ten years after having her child early. It really helped me at that time. I focused my time on moving forward and I never looked back.

Looking back I never dreamed I'd live in Singapore someday. 

And that's what the beautiful moon sighting communicated to me tonight. It's quite timely since one of my friends just posted that she's been stuck at home for 83 days now. It's hard and I have my moments when I feel like I'm gonna grow crazy from just being home. What really helped me was to accept the unknown and re-channel my energy to other things. I did spend a lot of time just moping on the couch, but last night the government here announced that phase 2 of opening things will proceed cautiously.

I have gotten used to the new normal of just staying home. I actually look forward to finishing work because I'm excited to work on my personal projects. Today right after work I popped the adobo on the stove and then went on to tend to my tiny garden. During lunch I was also working on my grocery list and planning already what to bake on Saturday. In between everything I nag Miggy hehe.

A month ago this was a tiny seedling :)

There are stressors and there are stressors. I've also learned to give myself a maximum amount of time that I can be upset over something. There's really no use hanging on to negativity. If something doesn't work out, there's a reason for it and probably God wants you to do something else. Look beyond. Look at how things will be in the future. And I think that's what I'm going to work on now. I'll let myself dream about the things that are yet to come.

Thanks for visiting us tonight Mr. Moon. It was a fabulous show :)

#CB/63 #WFH48 #StuckAtHomeDay93 #StayHome #BeKind  

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Baked Spanish Bread for the First Time

Ahh after baking dinner rolls and ensaymada I felt I had enough experience to try baking one of my all-time favorite Filipino buns - Spanish Bread! I honestly have no idea how Spanish Bread came about, but I've been eating it since I was a child. It's one of the most common buns you can buy in any corner bakery in the Philippines. It is best eaten warm.

The last time I had authentic Spanish Bread was in January when I was still in Manila. It is very expensive to buy in Lucky Plaza -- can go up to SG$2! That's about 80 pesos! I decided to bake Spanish Bread during the long weekend two weeks ago.

I think I made the right decision of baking Spanish Bread after baking ensaymada. It was quite challenging for me since it was my first time baking with bread flour and margarine. Getting the margarine to combine properly with the other ingredients was challenging. To prepare for this challenge I watched a good number of videos to understand what I had to do.

Here's how my first attempt at baking Spanish Bread went -

One of the most challenging aspects of baking buns is sizing them equally. I didn't have a kitchen scale, dough slicer and rolling pin when I made this so the buns came out in odd sizes hehe. I also learned from previous baking adventures that I had to reduce the oven temperature because I now have a fan oven. It behaves very differently from the convection oven in our previous apartment.

I halved the recipe as usual. I hope when I'm a bit more confident about my baking I'll be able to send some to my friends and when I get home to make some for my Mom. Yay!

My next baking adventure will be Pandesal!!!

#CB/62 #StuckAtHomeDay92 #StayHome #BeKind