Going Back and Moving Forward

It may sound crazy to want to go back to the year that was after spending two fun-filled days (not to mention food-filled) in 2016. But as I stare at my ceiling and reflect on what has transpired in 2015, I realize that I have indeed done a lot of “going back,” and this has resulted into 2015 being my most adventurous year as of yet.

I started my love affair with mountains in 2014, and this has continued on to 2015. I climbed six mountains, one of which was the highest peak in Luzon, Mt. Pulag via the Akiki trail. I almost cried as I watched the sunrise from the summit, in amazement of the sea of clouds and the rest of God’s creations. I also did two repeat climbs – Mt. Natib, this time including Pasukulan Falls and Tarak Ridge in Bataan. A little over a year has passed since I scaled these mountains, but a lot has changed in the terrain and of course, the view. I still didn’t get bitten by the limatiks though. 🙂

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I also went back to one of my favorite countries, Malaysia. I explored Kota Kinabalu and its lovely islands and beaches at a time when I badly needed to clear my mind and get a new perspective on things. The many similarities between our culture and theirs is one of the reasons I came back, and of course their food and their malls!

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In 2015, I have also gone back to my passion for teaching. I am a trainer by profession and after spending two fruitful years in Operations, I took a leap of faith, handed in my resignation without any concrete plans, traveled, rested for a month, and landed a job as a trainer for Camp Australia. Little did I know that this was just the start of big things, as I got promoted on my third month and was tasked to handle the training and quality team of the company.

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I found myself going back to the running field as I completed two half marathons in 2015. I may not have beaten my 2014 PR, but I sure as hell felt so proud after completing the 21k run for Run United 1 and 2 without collapsing in the middle of the street (my legs were turning to jelly as I struggled halfway through the run). I am crossing my fingers that my 2016 schedule would allow me to complete all three 21k legs of my favorite marathon.

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I thought that 2015 would be a difficult year for me because I faced some serious issues and had to make tough decisions, which meant leaving my comfort zone and even a few of my good friends behind. Yet it turned out to be one awesome year, and I couldn’t help but be amazed at how each experience transformed itself into another unforgettable page of my 2015 book. And oh, I have just made another milestone when I turned 30 last year, and despite most of my friends not being physically around to celebrate it with me, I enjoyed their birthday surprise.

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It’s the start of another book, which means that we’ve just been given a new chance to make things right. I have written down my “little-things-that-make-big-differences” list and will definitely make sure to keep this list in mind each day:

  1. I will continue making my bed in the morning, no matter how sleepy I am.
  2. I will continue spending more time with my parents even if it means that I have to take them out for dinner at their restaurant of choice.
  3. I will make sure to check on my friends regularly, as most of them are already out of the country (thank you, Facebook and Viber!).
  4. I will hug my dogs everyday even if they have a goal in life to chew on all of my slippers.
  5. I will eat healthy and ditch soda and fries and chicharon (I’d have to TRY my best to not eat seaweed flavored Lays almost everyday though).
  6. I  will start reading the books I bought or received last year (nine books, I think) and will finish them all this year.
  7. I will wear my retainers every night (okay, and every morning before I start my shift).
  8. I will limit myself to buying only two bags this year (promise!!!), and reallocate the money to my travel funds instead.
  9. I will continue with my workout routine everyday (except you know, that time of the month).
  10. I will remind myself of those nine must do’s and push myself to stick to them for 365, or rather 366 days.

 

I have taken a step back and embraced some parts of my past, but it doesn’t mean that I’m stuck and not moving forward. Not a big fan of the “new year, new me” thing because we always carry with us a little something from our past experiences. Yet I have never been this ready to welcome 2016 and wait for its thrilling surprises and twists. Cheers to a new year! 🙂

 

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Looking Back and Moving Forward

It’s only been a few weeks since we welcomed the new year with hopes and wishes for a better life. But every time I say “last year,” 2014 feels like many months ago. Nonetheless, looking back at the year that was makes me feel contented and fulfilled. I daresay I achieved what I wanted before the year ended – peace of mind and a clean slate to start 2015 with.

I finally had the chance to catch up with my dear friend Cindy after the holiday break. We talked about 2014 and both agreed that it was the most magastos year ever! Why? We both spent our hard-earned money on our favorite activity – traveling. True enough, last year was exciting and fun-filled because of all the traveling I did with friends and family.

First stop – Banaue Rice Terraces, Sagada, and Baguio

The cold weather, the sights and sounds of Sagada, the simple life of the people up north. I will never forget how breathtaking it was to finally see up close the rice terraces built by our ancestors. A.MA.ZING.

sagada, banaue rice terraces

 

Second stop – Baler

I have a confession to make – I don’t know how to swim. Hahaha. But I loooove the beach, and it’s obvious naman, I went to Baler twice with my teammates. Proud first time surfer here who got on the board a number of times! Yey!

10850024_10152638839791185_9063300470664403559_n baler, museo de baler, surfing

 

Third stop – Caramoan Islands

It still surprises me how something this beautiful exists and takes my breath away. Because of the awesomeness of the islands that we visited in Caramoan, I vowed to make sure that I will visit more islands in our country in 2015.

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Fourth stop – Penang and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

It was a happy, happy birthday for me in October. I got to explore Georgetown in Penang, Malaysia. Corners and streets and walls with street art, yummy street food, and hospitable people – what more can I ask for in a birthday celebration? Maybe no more stalkers while biking around town. LOL. (Yes, I have yet to write about this travel to Malaysia. Soon. :))

1509733_10152548062376185_7498839504645560535_n penang, georgetown, kuala lumpur, malaysia, travel to penang

 

In between all the traveling, I also managed to discover my love for two new hobbies – running and mountain climbing. I never imagined that I’d fall in love with these activities. You see, I wasn’t an “outdoorsy” type of person before. I hated getting my hands and feet dirty with mud, I didn’t like running long distances, and I wasn’t a big fan of sleeping in a tent. But all that changed when I tried hiking and when I covered 5k, 8k, 10k, and finally 21k in marathons. At first, it was only for fun, only to veer my attention away from thoughts I don’t like lingering in my mind. Yet I found myself joining more marathons and wanting to climb more mountains. I started investing in mountain climbing gear and subscribing to all these websites where run schedules are posted.

Girl vs. Mountain series – Mt. Romelo, Tarak Ridge, and Mt. Natib

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Eat and Run series – AmCham Run for a Scholar, World Vision Run, Energen Healthy Run Manila Leg, Eco R3Run, and Run United Philippine Marathon 3

energen healthy run manila leg 2014

rupm 3

 

An important event that capped off the year and made it even more unforgettable was the wedding of one of my college best friends, Irene. I was blinking back tears as she walked down the aisle to the arms of her love. It was a simple yet touching ceremony of their union, and of course I was honored to be her maid of honor.

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I’d have to say that 2014 was unlike any other year. I let loose, I became more adventurous, I forgot my fears and embraced challenge. Looking back, I can sum up what I feel in one word: Thankful. I am thankful for the people that I met in one of the trails, on the road while running, or on the plane while on my way to one of my destinations. I am thankful for the changes that taught me that nothing’s really permanent, and you won’t be happy if you stay stuck in one place.  I am thankful for another year, another chance to move forward and do right.

 

 

Food, Friends, and Finish Lines

I’ve been out of the loop for quite some time, and I just realized on my way back home this afternoon how much I’ve missed writing. I’ve been quite busy with a lot of stuff – work of course, a week-long leave to travel and meet up with friends for my birthday last month, and *drum roll please* Hay Day. LOL. Seriously. Hay Day has been very helpful in making me feel relaxed after 12-hour shifts at work.

When I found out that I had to refresh my blog’s connection to Facebook, it finally hit me – it’s been ages since I last logged in on WordPress and posted something. And because I want to veer away from negativity (hey it’s Christmas in like three weeks), I’d like to share my top three stress busters despite my tight schedule, the daily strain from commuting and the horrible traffic, the unavoidable fact of life that we need to deal with obnoxious people, and the recent changes at work.

1. FOOD, FOOD, FOOD!

My close friends know that I looooooove to eat. I take the time to check out highly recommended or popular restaurants (but I have yet to convince myself to line up for a bowl of ramen in Ippudo) and see (or rather taste) for myself if they’re just all hype or if talagang pop na pop. My latest discoveries and favorites:

frankie's buffalo wings, frankies chicken wings
Frankie’s Buffalo Wings!! I know I have previously talked about this, so by now you should know how much I love their wings. My officemates and I have a bi-weekly pact to visit our favorite chicken wings place and get our fill of their Classic flavored buffalo wings plus a few beer bottles.
tim ho wan, baked pork buns
Tim Ho Wan, finally we meet! This Michelin 1-star restaurant that started off as a hole-in-the-wall eatery in Hongkong has established a name here in Manila and everyday, there’s a long queue of people waiting to get their hands on the famous baked pork buns. The other day we got lucky – my officemate and I fell in line for just about five minutes and were seated agad. I ate five pork buns! At least generous ako and I shared one piece. Never ever leave Tim Ho Wan without ordering their Mango Pomelo Sago for dessert.
the burger project, the brgr project, maginhawa street burger project
A recent discovery, like this afternoon lang. Haha! BRGR: The Burger Project in Maginhawa Street. Foodies are well aware how this street has turned into a food haven, and The Burger Project has made a name for itself by allowing diners to create and name their own burgers. My verdict – I love my BURGER PATTY! Syempre, love your own. 🙂

 

2. FRIENDS!

I am just thankful for my friends, especially those I’ve known for a long time, for being my constant source of happiness and strength. One group of friends that I will forever cherish would be my college friends. We’ve been through a lot, and when I say a lot kasama na dun ang tampuhan, months of not seeing each other, and the geographic issues (as in LDF – Long Distance Friendship because two of them are abroad for work and studies), but we’re still as close as ever. I had a great time with them during my birthday dinner, and the dinner was made even more fun because my friend who’s studying in Japan happened to be in Manila for a convention, kaya we were almost complete. We had a laughter-filled night full of bullying. Yes, friends talaga kami pero that’s how we show our love and affection for each other. And one event that we’re all excited about – my college best friend’s wedding this December! I’m the maid of horror honor!

With my college best friends (and their boyfriends) enjoying a night out in Eastwood.
With my college best friends (and their boyfriends) enjoying a night out in Eastwood.
You are missed, Nebee!
You are missed, Nebee!
With the student in Japan and the bride!
With the student in Japan and the bride!
Maid of honor duties! Can't wait to see you walk down the aisle, Ai!
Maid of honor duties! Can’t wait to see you walk down the aisle, Ai!

 

3. FINISH LINES!

In life, there are literal and figurative finish lines. I’m glad to have finally reached a figurative finish line by cutting off ties with someone for good.

Another finish line that I reached is one that I wouldn’t mind seeing again. On October 5, I had my first 21k run after a series of 3k, 5k, and 10k marathons in the past few months.  I joined the Alaxan FR 21k division of the Run United Philippine Marathon 3 in SM Mall of Asia, together with thousands of runners and enthusiasts. The race was organized by RunRio, and like most of their marathons, it was fun, orderly, and well-managed. I loved how hands-on Coach Rio was during the event and how he encouraged the runners (myself included) to run the last few meters and dash to the finish line.

It was probably one of the most fulfilling (and tiring) achievements that I’ve had this year. After covering about 15kms and two hours into the race, I was starting to feel my legs tremble, so I had to alternate jogging – walking – jogging – sprinting – walking. It was exhausting, and I was so close to giving up but kept going and thinking of that coveted medal. After a little over three and a half hours and the finish line was a few steps from me, I badly wanted to tear up and give a high five to everyone as one of the usherettes handed me my first ever half-marathon medal. It was truly an unforgettable experience, something I’d like to do again really soon.

rupm 3, run united philippine marathon, runrio
Yay! Pawis at uhaw at pagod at haggard pero it was all worth it!
That Finisher Shirt!
That Finisher Shirt!
This medal deserves a spot next to my medals from college.
This medal deserves a spot next to my medals from college.
My running buddies na hindi makatawid ng maayos after the run!
My running buddies na hindi makatawid ng maayos after the run!
We were all super hungry but didn't have enough energy left to explore the restos in MOA. We ended up having lunch at Savory. Not complaining though, their chicken was still as tasty and juicy as I remember from the last time I ate there.
We were all super hungry but didn’t have enough energy left to explore the restos in MOA. We ended up having lunch at Savory. Not complaining though, their chicken was still as tasty and juicy as I remember from the last time I ate there.

 

Whenever I feel like life’s so unfair, or when I start spiraling down into that abyss of despair when things don’t go my way, I help myself get back on track by enumerating what makes me cheery and excited about the future. I know my friends and officemates have witnessed my sungit moments and stressed-ako-walang-kakausap-sakin days, but trust me, those moments will not last long. I always make sure that my thoughts and emotions are anchored onto something – like these three Fs – food, friends, and finish lines, and they’re enough to bring that smile back on my face. Have a fruitful weekend ahead!

 

Food, food, food directory:

Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings
G/F City Golf Plaza, Doña Julia Vargas Ave. Ugong, Pasig
(02) 687-1250

Tim Ho Wan
UG/F SM Megamall, Fashion Hall, Julia Vargas Ave cor EDSA, Wack Wack, Mandaluyong

BRGR: The Burger Project
122 Maginhawa St. Teacher’s Village – East, Quezon City
(02) 351-7474

Happy Tummy = Happy Patty

And I’m baaaaaack!

After a month-long hiatus, I am soooo back in the blogosphere. I was out of the loop for quite some time, extremely occupied with work, personal schintz, and weekly nights out at Frankie’s where my friends devour dozens of buffalo wings while I chug down bottles of beer. LOL. Regressing to my early 20’s when I used to drink and party until maabutan na ng mga nagja-jogging sa umaga? Maybe. 🙂

Speaking of weekly nights out, I have been spending the last few weeks making rounds of holes-in-the-wall or restos or bars that I see on social media or hear from my friends. Yes, I am dieting I am trying to eat healthy and maintain my 40-something-kilogram-body, so I can run faster during marathons. But once in while I go out, and apart from consuming a bucket of beer while my great friends laugh at my jokes and leave two pieces of chicken for me at my new favorite spot Frankie’s (yes I know I said this earlier), I have discovered a few new go-to places for yummy nomnoms.

 

1. Subspace Coffeehouse in Ortigas

Ilang tumbling lang ‘to from my office! This cool and cozy coffee place specializes in coffee (duh) art and teas and serves yummy pastries. If you just want to chill and hang out with your friends on a Friday night, yung tipong makakapag-emo at usap kayo about what’s going on in your lives without those blasting speakers, clingy guys who suddenly dance or grind behind you or walang mga nagre-review na maiistorbo (you know what I mean), then head on over to this coffee place in Emerald Tower.

Must try – their Purple Potato Latte! Yay!

subspace coffee ortigas, subspace coffeehouse
Purple Potato Latte FTW! The designs are just so adorbs.

 

Desserts and drinks overload:

image

subspace coffeehouse, subspace coffee ortigas

subspace coffeehouse, subspace coffee ortigas

subspace coffeehouse, subspace coffee, subspace coffee ortigas

subspace coffee, subspace coffeehouse ortigas

Cool interior:

subspace coffee, subspace coffeehouse ortigas

subspace coffee, subspace coffeehouse ortigas

subspace coffeehouse ortigas

subspace coffeehouse, subspace coffee ortigas

 

2. Argos Minibar in Makati Avenue

My friend Cindy and I found ourselves on P. Burgos St. one Friday night, after a whole week of stress-eating at work. I must admit, at first I got scared because of the crowd on the street pero harmless naman pala sila. People-watching was made more fun after they served us our Greek food (my third fave next to Jap and Italian). Don’t miss out – make sure you drop by this little haven of Mediterranean food when you’re in the area.

Must try – their Moussaka and Sarma Dolma!

argos minibar, argos makati
Greek food overload! Moussaka and Sarma Dolma, love love!

 

Lovin’ the walls and lights and pieces of furniture in Argos:

argos minibar

argos minibar

argos minibar

argos minibar

 

3. Kanto Freestyle Breakfast in Kapitolyo

I’m pretty sure of two things – either you’ve been here or you’ve heard about this eatery. I have been to Kanto Freestyle a number of times, and I will definitely come back and make sure I’ve tried everything on their menu. Hey, who wouldn’t want to eat at a hole-in-a-wall which offers gourmet breakfast at an affordable price? Brought my friends and my folks here – and both groups loved it. Medyo need lang ng patience because the lines can get long and it may take a few minutes to be seated kahit 11pm na, and also the food can take about 30 minutes to be served. I’m a hundred percent sure that my teammates and I will be regular fixtures in this place come November or December when we move to Capitol Commons, tatlong kembot lang from there!

Must try (and my ultimate favorite combo) – Tuyo Flakes and Kesong Puti Kanto Boy Breakfast plus extra rice and extra tomato pesto and extra bacon! All for Php120. Bow.

kanto freestyle breakfast

kanto freestyle breakfast
Happy Patty with happy people about to fill their tummies with happy food.

 

These discoveries and more made up for the long hours at work, and so long as I am enjoying food with my friends and teammates, I am definitely one happy gal *skipping and hopping to my next destination* 🙂

 

Directory to a happy tummy:

Frankie’s New York Buffalo Wings
G/F City Golf Plaza, Doña Julia Vargas Ave. Ugong, Pasig
(02) 687-1250

Subspace Coffeehouse
Unit 103, G/F Emerald Tower, F Ortigas Jr Rd. Ugong, Pasig
(02) 655-7077

Argos Minibar
Citadel Inn 5007 P. Burgos St., Bel-Air, Makati
(02) 869-3416

Kanto Freestyle Breakfast
1st Street Kapitolyo, Pasig

Artsy Fartsy Saturday at Pinto Art Museum

What’s the best activity for a group of creative people who have not seen each other for a long time?

A trip to an art gallery!

My friends from a BPO company specializing in multimedia advertising that I used to work for had a mini-reunion a few weeks ago. We decided to meet up in Pinto Art Museum, an art gallery showcasing the contemporary art collection of retired neurologist Dr. Joven Cuanang. Pinto Art Museum is part of the Silangan Gardens, which is a sprawling property in Antipolo about 10,000 square meters wide. I’ve heard good reviews about the place, so I made sure to make it a part of my to-visit places this year.

The museum wasn’t so hard to locate and even under the sweltering heat that Saturday afternoon, we had fun wandering around and checking out the paintings and other artwork in the galleries.

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

The galleries hold a vast array of artwork, from paintings big and small to sculptures with different themes. My friends and I had a great time exploring each and every corner of the museum, while admiring the exceptional talent behind each artwork.

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

It was a good thing that we had the chance to chat with a resident artist / tour guide in the museum, Mr. Andy Orencio. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have learned the trick in viewing three pieces of artwork in the gallery. You can stare at these pieces all day and not know that if you use your phone’s “negative” filter, you’ll see them in a different way:

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

Cool, right?

Speaking of cool, there’s a cafe in Pinto Art Museum that serves prolly the best halo-halo in town. Too bad I wasn’t able to take a picture of it because I got excited and dug in the moment it was put in front of me. Imagine Razon’s halo-halo na mas level up. The cafe is run by Bizu, and they also serve yummy rice and pasta meals. We were all smiles after enjoying some great food in the cafe:

pinto art museum, pinto art gallery, pinto art museum antipolo

There’s nothing more that I could ask for that day, except maybe for more time to spend in the gallery with my friends. Oh and another tall glass of that milky halo-halo.

You don’t need to be a professional artist to enjoy Pinto Art Museum. I’m sure you’re now planning a trip to the museum, so here’s the address and other important deets. You’re welcome!

Pinto Art Museum
Silangan Gardens, 1 Sierra Madre St. Grand Heights Antipolo City
6971015 / pintoartmuseum@yahoo.com
Open from Tuesday to Sunday: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Entrance fees:
PHP150 for regular ticket
PHP120 for senior citizens and PWD with valid IDs
PHP75 for children and students with valid school IDs

Guided Tour Schedule:
09:00 am – 11:00 am
12:00 nn – 02:00 pm
02:00 pm – 04:00 pm
04:30 pm – 06:00 pm

Emma Stone and JGL Lip Sync with Jimmy Fallon for the Win!

Okay. I can now say that all the stress from three days of working non-stop (and eating lunch in front of my station) have disappeared in a snap. Because of my two favorite Hollywood actors in the world! Nope, they didn’t come over and gave me a kiss on the cheek, as that remains and would probably remain a dream. They battled it out with Jimmy Fallon in The Tonight Show starring well, Jimmy Fallon, in probably the most amazing, hilarious, and cutest lip sync battle that I’ve ever seen. The world was truly entertained and obviously, everyone just can’t stop watching the video on Youtube!

1. The star in my forever favorite Hollywood movie 500 Days of Summer lip syncs Nicki Minaj’s Super Bass – wearing a tie, with his game face on. I love you, Joseph Gordon Levitt!

2. This girl – her bangs, her smile, her charming face… Need I say more? My girl crush! And she just defeated Jimmy Fallon by lip syncing All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled. Emma Stone, YOU.ARE.AMAZING. I hope you know that.

I’d be the happiest person if these two lovable creatures challenge each other in a lip sync battle. Thank you for making my day (and my whole week) a whole lot better. ❤

Dogs eating with human hands on a manic Monday

Another manic Monday it was – with Outlook crashing, issues sprouting here and there, decisions waiting to be made. It did not help that I was increasingly worrying about the missing plane from Malaysia, still suffering from sore muscles after this morning’s workout, and generally stressing about the coming week and even the next one because I will be one busy bee.

I logged on to my Facebook account this afternoon to take my mind off of work for a few minutes, then I saw this video shared by my brother.

I was cracking up like crazy (but was at work so I tried to keep a straight face a few seconds into the video) but this dog, the sweater, the human hands, and even the way the person taking the video shrieked and laughed just made it utterly hard for me.

When I got home, I searched for videos similar to this on YouTube and found out that there are more. All I did was laugh out loud until my sides hurt while watching these adorable dogs by the dinner table.

I swear, I could watch all these dogs-wearing-sweatshirts-eating-with-human-hands videos all day until I run out of breath and fall on the floor. These dogs just made my Monday and the rest of my hectic week.