Friday, July 31, 2020

Where Did the Blue Skies Go?

I had a severe asthma attack the other day. The AQI index for PM 2.5 was elevated and I probably breathed in a lot when I hung some laundry in the balcony.

It took me hours before my breathing normalized, but it left me weak the rest of the day. My doctor warned me that it was coming soon. I didn't expect it to come this soon. It's just unbelievable how unscrupulous businessmen could go on with this activities even with the pandemic.

I want my blue skies back!

CB//116 #StuckAtHomeDay/146 #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, July 30, 2020

From the Baul: That Time When I Used to Vlog My Travels

I started vlogging over a decade ago. I made travel and tech vlogs. Eventually I got tired of it because it was tedious to edit videos and I got busy at work. I also realized I'm so self-conscious in front of a camera and it just felt awkward.

One of the trips I vlogged was when we visited Eden in Davao. I super love that place even though it's a long drive from Davao City. It was the first place I went to after I had heart surgery. I love Eden because it's just like the garden of eden. Everything is green, the air is clean. It's one of the most relaxing places on earth.

The last time I watched the video was when I uploaded it. It's a nice memory for me and I miss those days I was carefree and was allowed to go on a zipline! I still want to if I'd be allowed to go on it. I miss flying through the air, feeling the wind go through my hair. Ahhh and I miss being young LOL.

I've lost count how many times I've been to Eden. I also went there together with my high school friends. A few more times with other bloggers and then with my family after my heart surgery. It's one of those places I'd like to visit again after all this craziness is over.

And doing travel vlogs again? This was my plan this year, but the plan was cancelled. I even got a new camera last Christmas. So I re-worked my plans and I've just been vlogging about my kitchen and garden adventures. Check out my latest post here.

CB//115 #StuckAtHomeDay/145 #WFH84  #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Wish Day Wednesday

Uncertainty is something I think all of us struggle with. For the longest time I only focused on getting through the day every day. I just kept working and working. In the long run this was bad for me. I burnt out.

I eventually learned that not everything I buy needs to be justified. My Kuya taught me a different way to manage my finances. After savings, here's what he recommended -

10% investment build passive income
10% upgrading yourself
10% celebrate
10% keep for emergency
55% everyday expenses
Start at 5% Tithing

Prior to his advise I viewed everything as an expense. I switched to save mode when my doctor told me that I already needed heart surgery. I was not sure at that time if insurance was going to cover everything so for more than a year I started to save like crazy. I saved in case insurance did not cover my surgery. Luckily it was, but after that I focused my finances to pay for our mortgage. I always had the thought that I shouldn't leave my family in debt in case something went wrong.

Sometimes we unnecessarily put dark clouds in our lives.

This meant I wasn't living the life I should be living. My Kuya's advise helped me a lot because it gave me a better perspective on how I should manage my finances. It also allowed leeway for me to grow, allot for the future, save for emergencies and most importantly, celebrate wins! This perspective also helped me work on my well-being and heal.

So I thought for Wednesday, I'd blog about a wish I have for myself. It will probably swing from mundane wishes to deep save the world wishes. I'll probably stick to mundane wishes for now since everything else feels heavy already.

There's one thing I've wanted for many, many years now -- a KitchenAid mixer! I have this insane purchasing decision making process when it comes to appliances and gadgets. It takes me anywhere between 2 to 5 years before I actually make a purchase. It's usually not because of the cost, but I go through this crazy justification process before I buy anything expensive.

Took this photo in 2016. Still using it today!

I haven't been able to buy the KitchenAid mixer because my $20 mixer which I bought back in 2012 still works. Hahaha. Yes, I'm kuripot that way. Blame my Kuya because he told me when I was young that I should only buy things when I really need it.

I found a really good deal today because it's GSS. I had already told myself early this month that I would get a KitchenAid mixer for myself on my birthday (next month). I was able to justify the purchase (finally after >5 years!) because I've been baking every week. Before I clicked add to cart I pinged two friends to ask if it was a good deal. They said yes! Sweetie said if I still hesitated he would've bought it for me. I think I drive him crazy with my purchase decision making process. 

I'm crazy that way, but with my Kuya's advise I'm getting better at taking care of myself. In these uncertain times we must believe that there is a beautiful future waiting for us. We need to learn what these hard times are trying to teach us. Let's keep wishing (and praying). We'll get through this together.

CB//114 #StuckAtHomeDay/144 #WFH83  #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Plant Tuesdays: How Tomato Plants Develop from Flower to Fruit

I was so excited last week when I saw my tomato plant finally bear fruit! My heart jumped when I saw it. I've been watching the lone fruit like a hawk the past week. It's been very windy the past few days, good thing the tomato plants have been resilient.

So after seeing the tomato bear its first fruit I got curious. I wanted to find out how it looks like when it develops from flower to fruit. Like what happens when it gets pollinated? I looked for videos on YouTube to see if there was any timelapse anyone has posted. There were some, but they were not exactly clear. So I asked the tomato plants to show me.

That's the tiny bulge that surprised me yesterday.

I was hand pollinating the flowers yesterday when I saw a tiny bulge. It was a tiny fruit! I was so happy to see another fruit evolving. It means the effort I've been making to manually pollinate the flowers is working. I looked around to see if there was another fruit evolving and I found a flower transforming.

See that tiny, tiny fruit peeking?

Now I know how the flower looks like as it develops into fruit. I'm tracking a few more flowers so I can get a day to day perspective. I'm nerdy that way haha.

Here's how I've been manually pollinating the tomato plant flowers. It so far works!

CB//113 #StuckAtHomeDay/143 #WFH82  #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, July 27, 2020

Monday Musings: Mambukal Resort and It's 7 Falls

I still remember that day we went to Mambukal Resort. The team planned to trek the 7 falls. I said I'd go, but planned to cover only the first three falls since I heard getting to the 7th was hard. Little did I know the guide decided to switch the hike. We started from top to bottom.

As expected I trudged on slowly. A few friends stayed behind to keep me company. By the time I reached the area of the 7th waterfall I was too tired to move. I just hung out a shed with Dana until we decided to head back down.

I thought it would be easier to go down. It wasn't! The trek down had us removing our shoes to cross a river. We hang on tree branches for dear life. Slowly go through an area where there were bees swarming. I could barely walk by the time we reached fall number 3 and I had to rest a bit. I let my friends move ahead since lunch was about to be served.

I took my sweet time going back down since my thighs were already frozen. Because I was left behind I had time to take as many photos as I wanted and I had a ready photographer -- the guide! Hahaha. I may not have planned to see all the 7 waterfalls, but I did! And that was a huge achievement for me. I paid for it for a week! That's what you get from hiking without any practice!

What's your most memorable hike? 

CB//112 #StuckAtHomeDay/142 #WFH81  #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Homemade Longganisa for Sweetie and Me

Supplies from home are slowly dwindling. You cannot imagine my panic when I almost ran out of toyo and suka. I tried other brands, but the outcome isn't the same. I'm out of my usual coffee and my usual stock of canned goods from home are almost gone. I'm down to my last Purefoods hotdog, Pampanga's Best tocino and longganisa.

Normally when I get to travel to Manila I always bring back supplies. Usually canned goods, toiletries and a kilo or two of tocino, longganisa and hotdog. You can buy Purefoods hotdog in Lucky Plaza (usually, I don't know now), but I prefer to bring from Manila since it's cheaper versus buying from LP. One of the Pinoy groceries explained to me before that they are not allowed to import longganisa or tocino. They usually make it here. Unfortunately none of the Pinoy groceries do delivery here and I'm only able to get some supplies from either Fairprice or Giant when they have it.

Some sellers taking advantage of the low supply in the market.
This is just SG$5 at Fairprice (for both!).

That's the reason why I embarked on my home panaderia project. You can get some Filipino food locally, but most of the sellers are on the other side of the island so delivery fees can be expensive. So far the buns I've been baking have been edible, but I'm still shy to share it since I don't think it's perfect yet. I have so far made ensaymada, pandesal, monay and putok. It's a lot of work!

I've been craving for longganisa the past two weeks. I was in high school the last time I attempted to make longganisa. It was during cooking class. We didn't finish the lesson because there was a coup d'etat and classes were suspended. We had mixed the meat with the ingredients and it was supposed to stay in the fridge for a few days before we cooked it. By the time we got back to school the meat was spoiled because there were brownouts.

I always took for granted that I could just always buy longganisa. Looked for an easy to make recipe and made some for dinner tonight. Sweetie said he liked it a lot. We did not have any leftovers lol. Next time I'll probably try to make a different type of longganisa. Maybe longganisang Lucban or Vigan longganisa. Yummy!

What about you? What's your favorite longganisa?

Saturday, July 25, 2020

A Day in My Life: What I Do on Saturdays

Saturdays are for sleeping in! Do you agree? We usually end up staying up late on Fridays so normally when I wake up Sweetie's busy doing something already. He was playing Pokemon Go already when I woke up and excitedly told me that the Pokemon Go Fest event had a lot of surprises for trainers. I ended up signing up for it too.

Got some breakfast and thought I'd film how my day goes today. Here's how it went --

Our weekends this year drastically changed because of the pandemic. I super miss those weekends when we can go to Sentosa or our favorite places. My weekends are now for learning new things. I've become a full-fledged tita the last few months since I started my garden. I've been baking every week too. I don't think things will go back to normal again soon.

What about you? What do you do on weekends?

CB//110 #StuckAtHomeDay/140  #StayHome #BeKind

Friday, July 24, 2020

Who Leads You?

The readings on Didache the last few days has been about trusting the Lord during uncertain times. The reflections have been spot on about the situation we are all in right now.

I remember that time when my life was crazy. It was one disappointment after another. I was constantly frustrated. It was during a flight back home from the US when I prayed really hard and told God, "I give up, please navigate my life". He immediately answered my request.

After experiencing a lot of disappointment in my life I took things one day at a time. I still do. I don't worry about the future because I know I always where I should be. Way back when I was "dating" I came to a point where I prayed to God to remove those guys who were not the one. God was pretty humorous about it. All the guys who were not the one would have a leg/foot injury! He a.slo made it so obvious to me that they were not meant for me.

When my first mission at my current job was completed it meant I had to find another role. I told my manager at that time that if there wasn't anything for me then I would understand that my mission was probably over. He was so shocked with my statement and said, "Of course we want to keep you!" They found the perfect role for me a few weeks after that and I found myself moving to Singapore shortly after that. Moving to another country was never in my plans.

New job, new office in 2011.

I was where I was supposed to be. Two years after moving to Singapore I had heart surgery. My doctors told me that it was a good thing I did it here because they had the expertise to ensure I survived it. They admitted a few years later that they almost lost me because of my complicated body setup. I'm forever grateful to them and my former managers who found a way to move me to Singapore.

I have things I want to do in the future and I thought I was going to start my future this year. God had other plans though. He made it very clear that my current mission isn't over yet and I have to stay put and fulfill what I have to do. I trust Him completely to navigate my life.

What about you? Who leads your life?

CB//109 #StuckAtHomeDay/139 #WFH80  #StayHome #BeKind

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Throwback Thursdays: My Favorite Places in Singapore

You might find it strange I'm featuring favorite places for throwback Thursday. It's a throwback for me because I haven't visited my favorite places for a long time now here in Singapore.

Toastbox - used to meet the boys after the work usually at Toastbox. Miggy and I would usually meet up first, have merienda and wait for Sweetie to arrive. We do this at least once a week. The crew treat us as regulars and already know our usual order haha.

Giant - there used to be a huge Giant supermarket across our place. They left and was replaced by Fair Price. We miss Giant a lot.

Kinokuniya - my favorite bookstore here in Singapore. They have all your regular books and a good selection of craft books and music books. They also have a lot of interesting knick knacks.

Spotlight - the first shop I visited when Sweetie allowed me to go with him to the mall. I just did a quick round to get thread and buttons. I didn't get to check out my favorite fabric selections (I still have too many anyway).

Daiso - I think I visit Daiso at least 2x a month since I moved to Singapore. I always end up buying something there everytime I go. It's a different experience though when I'm in Manila since it's usually cheaper to buy home items from SM or Landmark there.

Sentosa - we usually walk to Sentosa from home a couple of times in a month before. We usually go to catch Pokemon and spin Pokestops. I like walking to the beach since it's so calming. I wonder when we can do this again.

Jollibee at Suntec - I particularly like this Jollibee because it's beside my favorite milk tea ice cream shop hahaha.

24 Hour McDonald's - sometimes we have this odd cravings for McFlurry very late at night. We'd go as a family to the nearest McDonald's for a McFlurry run. We were happy to know that there's also a 24-hour McDonald's near our new place. They changed the hours, but we could still get ice cream until midnight. It's not the same though since Miggy's not here with us now. 

My original plan for 2020 was to explore more of Singapore and visit all Toast Box branches across the country. I also wanted to visit Batam and Bintan again and Johor. Discover more interesting local places.

CB//108 #StuckAtHomeDay/138 #WFH79  #StayHome #BeKind

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I Wish I had a Puppy

I regularly watch pet vlogs and I can't help but wish I have a puppy. I had to give up the last puppy I had because I got very sick. Her name was Jolly.

Jolly was the cutest dog ever. She was black, but had a white streak on her chest. Her eyes were bluish and she had the most amazing smile. She moved to our neighbor and I visited her every so often. I'm grateful they took her in and loved her for many, many years. I couldn't keep her because my lungs suffered a bit hit after having pneumonia. I was allergic to everything. My Mom decided to put her up for adoption so she can be cared for better. She never forgot me and was always happy to see whenever I visted. She passed away I think around the time I had my heart surgery.


My first dog was named Bullet. I don't remember who named her, but she was a really cute brown askal*. I must have been just 4 or 5 years old when we had her. After Bullet, a cute tiny dog followed us from church. We tried to find her owner, but nobody came from her so we ended up keeping her. I'm not sure if she was a shitzu, but she was small and was a real sweetheart. It took me awhile to recover when Lemon passed away.

I was so affected with Lemon's passing, my Mom did not want me to have another pet. My Dad though got my Mom a super cute parrot. She named her Maggie. She was a darling and would say hello to everyone. I've been watching a pet vlogger who has a parrot and I now realize that we probably did not take care of Maggie properly. We nonetheless loved her a lot.

With Jolly at the park.
Eventually my Ate's boyfriend gave her a Japanese spitz. She was named Cotton. My sister eventually left for the US to take her MBA and I inherited Cotton. I never learned how to train the puppies. It's my Mom who's good at house training the dogs. I don't know how she does it, but they all follower her. I was just a regular kid who played with the dogs and cuddled them regularly. It tooks years after Cotton passed away before I could have another dog. I took in Jolly because I wanted Miggy to learn how to take care of pets. Aside from Jolly we also had hamsters and fish. When I got sick they didn't allow me anymore to have pets.

This is Whisker's (Tappy's cat). He would sit on me whenever I visited them. I now like cats too because of him.

So that's probably the reason why I watch pet vlogs. I still wish I could someday have a pet again. I still believe my lungs would eventually heal and I'd be strong enough to have a pet again. For now I have my plants. I check on them like I would a pet haha. I guess I just need to nurture something constantly (Miggy's far away so the plants will do for now).

What about you? Did you have pets when you were growing up?

CB//107 #StuckAtHomeDay/137 #WFH78  #StayHome #BeKind

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Plant Tuesdays: Look Ma, My Tomato Plant Finally Bore Fruit!

I've been waiting for my tomato plants to bear fruit for a few weeks now. I was getting frustrated because the plants started flowering when it started raining in Singapore. At that time a few bees started to visit the balcony, but the crazy rains chased them all away. The flowers eventually just wilted.

I did some research and found that if you don't have bees visiting your plants you need to hand pollinate them. I tried first using small cotton buds, but it didn't work. It took a few weeks before I was able to obtain a small paintbrush. I immediately tried using it last week and got a huge surprise today.

The first fruit!

I went to the balcony to prune the cucumber plants. I decided to check on the tomato plants first and do some hand pollination using the paintbrush. I was so surprised to see a tiny fruit on one of the tomato plants. It was one of the first flowers I hand pollinated last week. I was so giddy I patiently worked on the other flowers. I hope they would bear fruit too!

Gardening has been a way for me to cope during this pandemic. I read several articles saying that gardening helps with ones mental wellbeing. Back in May I was having a hard time coping and was so stressed. I started gardening when we moved to our new place. It started as an experiment because I wanted to know whether store bought tomatoes would sprout when planted. I was ecstatic when they sprouted.

My tomato plant row. Hope some of my friends can adopt some of the plants :)

I have about 15 tomato plants I'm taking care of now. They all came from just one tomato I sliced one boring afternoon. That time I only had one pot and all the sprouts eventually shared the tight space. It took time for me to get additional materials and I'm thankful the tomato plants stood by me. They reached this point also because of Sweetie's support -- he made sure they were watered early in the morning. Thank you Sweetie!

And don't you just love this meme? (Not sure where this originated... let me know in the comments!).

I write more about my gardening journey on my other blog - The Balcony Farmer!

CB//106 #StuckAtHomeDay/136 #WFH77  #StayHome #BeKind

Monday, July 20, 2020

Monday Musings: Tokyo Disneyland in Winter

By some stroke of luck we were able to purchase inexpensive tickets to visit Japan. I bought roundtrip tickets for three to Tokyo for just PhP21,000. My Tita Pet insisted we stay with them for the whole duration of the trip and we stayed there for almost two weeks. We didn't realize that the trip date was right in the middle of Japan's winter time. We saved a lot of money for the trip, but ended up buying winter clothes to keep us warm (check out my winter clothes must haves).

We enjoyed our stay despite the super cold weather. The most memorable day for me was when we visited Tokyo Disneyland. Uncle Fumio advised that we should go really early because it was peak season and Disney would sometimes turn away visitors if they're full already. We got up really early and made sure we rode the train Uncle Fumio advised we should get on.

It was 2'C when we arrived at Disneyland. It was only 7 in the morning and it was too cold for us to go around. We ended up hiding inside one of the cafes to have breakfast. We hang out in the cafe until the temperature went up a bit. Despite the cold weather the park was still full and lines to the rides were long. We probably visited all the souvenir shops that dotted the park, mainly to keep warm.

I think the ride I enjoyed the most was "It's a Small World". It was a great way to rest from all the walking we did. I insisted we try the roller coaster for kids. It was a bad idea because it was so cold! Hahaha. We also watched the theater show... I ended up taking a nap and only woke up during the last song. That's what usually happens to me when my body experiences extreme weather.

The happiest place on earth still held us magically spellbound. It was always my wish to bring Miggy to Disneyland since I had enjoyed it a lot when I was a child. We managed to get a great spot during the parade. It was a day well-spent with family.

And thank God for Heattech! Hahaha.

CB//105 #StuckAtHomeDay/135 #WFH76  #StayHome #BeKind

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Blog and Vlog Header Updates

I generally blog whatever comes to mind when I turn on my Chromebook. For this year I was just planning to do a one-month blog challenge. Ended up blogging everyday since the first of January. Things aren't the same this year and it's been an extremely stressful time for all of us. Blogging has helped me cope with the very unusual circumstance we are all in.

Today I decided to update my blog and vlog headers. I just keep uploading content and things got quite messy. I cleaned up first my YouTube channel and fixed the playlists. I have some random daily vlogs, cooking videos I've been creating for Miggy to learn how to cook, my home panaderia project and I have decided to add a new section -- gardening videos! There won't be any travel videos though in the near future...