I was late in church today and wasn’t able to catch up with the rest of my family until the end of the mass. When I did, they were all smiles, with my mom exclaiming, “You look sexy today!”

Sexy? No, I wasn’t. I just looked–and felt–better. It’s both surprising and amazing how much a little makeup and dressing up can make you feel more confident, more beautiful, and sometimes a much better person than you are when you wake up. This is the exact thought that ran in my head.

I am not sexy. I am overweight, though I’m working at it right now. I may be about five years ago when I would starve myself and exercise for hours. But then, before, I felt more miserable.

I remember when I was in high school, I used to drop by SM Cebu and weigh myself in that large stainless steel scale outside National Bookstore. Each weigh cost 5 pesos, and surely I spent a lot. Yet I didn’t mind. I was happy every time it told me I was underweight. Yes, it made me feel so relieved to be far below that what’s good for me, what’s ideal for my age and height.

Worse, even when I was already so underweight, some would still call me “chubby” and at times in-your-face “fat.” It always bothered and frustrated me. I didn’t want to be chubby, let alone fat. I didn’t even want to be sexy. All I wanted was to be thin, and the process of getting into that point filled my life with a lot of insecurities. That emotional pain I carried through for more than 10 years of my life, and it’s only in the last 3 years that I slowly learned to let go of it.

I am not saying I feel good being like this. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be avoiding rice and watching what I eat. I am not comfortable with my weight, but I’m also past the need to look what others want me to look. I’m past the pressure, I’m past the insecurities. I am at a point when I am learning to love myself more, and that fuels me to take care of myself a lot better.


My New Baby

I’m on my third week of no-rice diet! Can you believe that? I can’t. After all, it felt like it was only yesterday when I told myself I can’t quit it. I’m still trying to get the hang of it, but definitely I’m getting better. I’ll show you what I’ve been eating instead in my future posts.

Today I’m going to share with you my new baby. I think I already mentioned my shuffling back and forth to Boljo-on. Here’s one of the reasons:

st. therese store in progress (6)

I’m putting up a religious supply store called Saint Therese (because she’s my favorite saint). This will be formally opened on August 11, a Sunday. It’s located down south, and as far as I know, it’s the ONLY one of its kind there. It’s not going to be the next Saint Paul’s, though I’m hoping; but it’s enough to cater to churches, organizations, and anyone who find traveling to the city to buy the supplies tedious. I’ll also be having a very small snack bar with batchoy and lugaw just to add more to the income. In time, I may be able to convert the terrace (you see above the store) into a small coffee shop or restaurant.

I’m just excited. I haven’t really sold anything in my life, but I have the best mentors with me–my parents and my sister–and love the awesome support I’m receiving from the rest of my kin and Bernard.  It’s a beautiful change in my life.


Jewelry Organizer

Before you think otherwise, I’ll be making this clear: I don’t have “countless” shining jewelry pieces. I do have some, yes, and most of them I now consider heirloom since my mom bought them for me a couple of years ago. What I have the most are earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made of faux glittering stones and chains. I am fond of wood, seeds, and shells as well. Some of the earrings were proudly made by me. (And I’m eager to go back to that hobby soon.)

My “collection,” however, is not the main agenda of this blog post but the organizer. I have been dreaming of the day when I can have some form of organization for these trinkets. I had gone through many different boxes, containers, jars, etc.–to no avail. Then while I was cleaning my kitchen, I noticed the silver holder for some of my kitchen ware, such as a peeler, can opener, and grater. Many of them didn’t work anymore, and the ones that did had found a new home. This then meant I had no use of the holder until I remembered my jewelry pieces. To keep the story very short, here it is:

jewelry organizer

I think I did a good job at reusing it.

Well, Hello!

Hi, everyone! It’s been quite a while, isn’t it? I missed a lot of things and a lot of people, but I’m really at a point in my life when I want to focus more on myself first. Over the past few months, I felt a little bit lost and tired and so burned out. I wasn’t at my best, and I didn’t love myself for it. But definitely I’m so eager to bounce back and come out a way better version of me.

That doesn’t mean, though, I wasn’t doing anything at all. Moping wasn’t part of the agenda. In fact, I had never been this tired in my life! I’ve been cleaning the house for the past two days (and I’m not yet even done!). I had traveled to Boljoon, my province, twice in a span of two weeks. I’m also on my second week of not eating rice. Some frowned upon it. I mean what’s a Filipino if he or she doesn’t eat rice? I love rice, whether garlic or fried. But then, a cup has about 200+ calories. Multiply that by 3, and you have 600 calories from rice alone. If a regular person, on the average, needs to consume between 1,200 and 1,500 each day–well, you do that math. Couple it with a sedentary lifestyle, and viola! You’re packing a lot of pounds.

Bernard is back in school. He’s already on his second or third week. He’s currently enrolled in the University of the Philippines Cebu for master’s in mathematics education.

I’ve been trying my hands on more “intensive cooking,” adding more vegetables in the ingredients to make every dish more filling. I hope it helps Bernard lose the extra pounds as well.

Can’t wait to share some of my work-in-progress projects, from food to crafts. I need great suggestions and feedback from you. 🙂

Shopping at Zalora

Intimate friends know I don’t really enjoy some retail therapy. I did that a few times, and I always ended up with a broken heart and an almost-empty bank account.

Lately, however, I find myself gawking at the hundreds of items found at Zalora, and within the last two weeks, I already bought four!


Perhaps the biggest motivation is the fact that it offers both convenience and shopping speed. Besides, they do have great pieces that even my meticulous mother loved so many of them.

Zalora offers plenty of payment options. So far, I had used a debit card and my PayPal to zero glitch. The company also offers cash on delivery (COD), though my address isn’t covered.

They seem to have a wide lead time–it’s around 5 to 7 days for provincial deliveries–but for the first two transactions, I received the items between 3 and 4 days.

Again, I don’t shop often, much less online, so I don’t really know how shopping websites do it. But Zalora asked me to send a photocopy of the card I used as well as that of a government-issued ID, perhaps to verify that it was indeed me who had gone on a short shopping spree. And they’re actually dead serious in protecting me, because the bank called me up to verify the transaction as well. I presume Zalora forwarded the details to them.

They were also prompt in sending the tracking numbers. The last one I think they’d forgotten about it since I couldn’t find any related e-mail. So I called their attention through mail, and they responded within 24 hours. I think it’s good customer service.

They do have free shipping, but you have to spend 2,500 pesos before you can take advantage of that. Now, that’s a huge amount of money and not very easy to achieve. Perhaps I’ll do so during the holidays?

Oh, they do send coupons along the way, which is nice.

Overall, I enjoy using Zalora. I still don’t have the heart to become a full-fledged shopaholic–and I don’t think I’ll ever be–but at least I’m glad that I have this good shopping website to trust.

A Half-day Tour in Iligan Part 1

This post is long overdue. It’s been more than a month since we’d set foot in Mindanao. But I hope that’s okay. 🙂

In one of my previous posts, I talked about our very short stop in Butuan and our long journey to Cagayan de Oro. If you’d ask us what we did in the latter, well, nothing worth noting. By the time we arrived, I was already too hungry we took our late lunch; then after 30 minutes, I slept for around two hours. When I woke up, it was already 5, so we had to take our dinner–no, Bernard went to Centrio, which was a walk away from where we stayed, and bought me Chowking. So I ate in the cramped room.

The next day was a bit different and way better. We traveled to Iligan. Based on my research, the beautiful city has more than 20 waterfalls! We surely didn’t have the time to check most of them, so we settled for two: Maria Cristina Falls and Mimbalot (or is it Mimbalut?) Falls.

Iligan is supposed to be one to two hours away from Cagayan de Oro, but it felt longer. I don’t know why really. It’s okay, though. The bus we rode had a free WiFi, and Bernard mildly enjoyed the on-board film, which starred Mark Wahlberg. It’s about a burned spy or CIA. The bus, by the way, is located in Bulua Terminal, which is around 20 minutes from the city proper.

This is a very nice bus--comfortable, with a lot of leg room. It has steady WiFi as well.

This is a very nice bus–comfortable, with a lot of leg room. It has steady WiFi as well.

How to Get to Maria Cristina Falls

Maria Cristina Falls is located in Buru-un. From CDO, the bus stopped at Iligan’s integrated bus terminal. We ate breakfast then rode a jeepney to the public market.

Inside Iligan City's bus terminal. Bernard loved the seats!

Inside Iligan City’s bus terminal. Bernard loved the seats!

But even before we reached it, I already saw a jeepney with Buru-un sign. So when traffic stopped, we moved to the latter. Well, it still went around the public market, but it’s all right. It felt we’re having a field trip. Haha!

Buru-un was roughly 20 to 30 minutes, and the fare was about 12 pesos, I think. You’ll know you’re already near the falls if you pass by this bridge:

maria cristina bridge

I think they call it Maria Cristina Bridge. See the gorgeous waters? Amazing.

Right next to it is the NPC Park. We had to go in there if we wanted to see the waterfalls. A habal-habal driver approached us and offered his service for 30 pesos each. That’s for a one-way trip. I thought it was too much and that we’d rather walk. But I changed my mind, which was all good since the NPC shuttle service that cost 10 pesos for every ride was still under repair.

Before we could get in, we had to pay for the entrance fee of 60 pesos (that’s the for-adult rate). Manong Driver then drove us all the way to the falls.

NPC Park

I know that many had described the falls as gorgeous, majestic, and brilliant–but it really is and so much more. It was fiery, raging, overflowing, yet gently cascading from the mountains.

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The waterfalls was proud that day, and it ought to be.

The people behind its maintenance was considerate enough to build an equally pretty shed where you can eat and watch the falls without burning your skin from the scorching heat.

I didn’t do anything else in NPC besides eat ice cream. There’s supposed to be an aviary, a garden, and a zoo, but it’s a long hot walk for us, and we had another falls to go to. The sight of the Maria Cristina Falls was more than enough for me too.

Around 10:30 a.m., we opted to move to another. I asked around, which one is better: Tinago or Mimbalot? The lady guard insisted on the former. “KC shot a movie there,” she giggled. Manong Driver also wanted us to go to Tinago, but I felt he had an ulterior motive. It was a long drive, so we had to pay more. Besides, I was hard-headed, so I said, “No, let’s go to Mimbalot.”

Manila Days

A couple of days from now, Bernard and I will be turning 13. Yes, almost half of my life he’s there. You can definitely say we’ve been through A LOT of things. One of those that stand out is my Manila memories with him.

I think it was around 2010 when Bernard got a job that required 2 months’ training in Manila. For us, that’s the longest we’ll be away from each other (not counting the months we briefly broke up). Anyway, to make the long story short, I missed him a few weeks after he was gone that on the second month, I flew to live with him.

Bernard had to move out of a multi-room apartment, and together we squeezed into a very narrow unit that was around half the size of an average condo studio units in Cebu. It was that small. In fact, we didn’t have any kitchen, living room, and dining area, but only a bathroom and a standard-sized double deck. We slept below while our things were on top. There was only one white monoblock chair and a small desk, which worked as my teeny-weeny office. Most of the time, when it’s dinnertime, we’d squat on the floor.  As almost everything in Manila is expensive, ours cost 8,000 a month, excluding water and electricity. By the time we left, we paid almost 15,000 pesos. Honestly, there were only two things that made me stay there: Internet and location.

We were far away from our parents–well, most of our family members–and friends. We had to rely on each other, on ourselves, and on meager human interactions with his colleagues, my brother, and a handful of Manila-based friends. I experienced eating lunches alone and being totally out of place as noisy college kids occupied the rest of the restaurant. I was really a tiny speck anyone can easily miss out.

Our short Manila living wasn’t the most comfortable, but for me it was the sweetest. I’d wake Bernard up at around 11:00 p.m. so we could catch the last full show in Greenbelt 3. Then we’ll head to Seattle’s Best for a nice warm cup of coffee for him and a delicious iced choco for me. Or if we started running out of budget, we’d simply walk and watch the time and people go by.

For dinners, we’d walk a few meters out of the gate and order a pair of silog that cost 50 pesos each. During the weekends, most of our lunches were spent on this cute Japanese-cuisine fast food restaurant called Sumibiyakid. We loved it a lot not just because of the food but the people who had become our friends as well.

We hadn’t traveled to other provinces such as Laguna, but we had a grand time around Makati and Quezon City. Sometimes we’d spend hours in Rockwell checking out celebrities. Or we’d listen to our next-door neighbor fight at different times of the day.

Those were our most care-free days. It’s not like we didn’t have any more responsibilities back home. We were still paying for our mortgage and other bills. I still had to work. But it never worried me because we’re experiencing new things together.

As we’re nearing our fifth year as a married couple, I still hope we can continue on with our mini adventures and relive our “happy Manila days” over and over.