Sunday, August 31, 2014

When Best friends unite!

Kathy Dacanay is one of my closest friends in life. We worked in the same University back in Davao and we're bonded with our common interests in blogging and, oh, yes, food!

She left the University in 2012 to work full time online as a web developer but we continue to meet elsewhere, most particularly in the cafe shop, not only to eat but to discuss business prospects and our interest in blogging. We're both into French audio tutorial lessons too!

With Kathy and Rowie at Cafe Juanita

We're colleagues back in the University in Davao. We're bonded with our common love for Food! Kathy shared my fascinations in blogging, French language and photography, While Rowena shared my obsession in traveling!

And so last August 30, We finally met after more than a year of not seeing each other. Another best friend and former colleague in the same University, who is now working in Manila and the one who convinced me to try my luck in the industry, Rowie Tagaan, joined us, we spent one night together at Alejandra Hotel somewhere in Makati to talk endlessly! We went to bed around 4:00 in the morning! Oh!!! So many topics to discuss, the giggling, the sharing of "life's updates" and all the good times we missed while still working together in Davao.

I love Maki!!! 
Fruity Tea with Creme brulee, cake and 
French macaroons at Paul, insanely scrumptious!

We woke up very late hehe! And because the three of us really love to eat, the first thing that we quickly agreed is to spend lunch at Haru Sushi bar and restaurant in Pasig. We have variations, Kathy loved Italian dishes but I preferred Japanese cuisine haha! And Rowie is in-between. But we all loved TEA!

After Haru, we moved to its sister restaurant with a Filipino theme, Cafe Juanita and tried Creme Brulee.  All of us loved French cuisine, so we decided to visit SM Aura and dine at PAUL, a French restaurant. And oh yeah, transferred to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and had another round of pastries hopping! 

We separated at 10:00 in the evening. Kathy remained at SM Aura to wait for her friend who will be arriving from Davao. I went home to Caloocan and arrived after midnight, what a great bonding with best friends!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Celebrity Bloggers

I regularly do some blogwalking to celebrity blogs to get some inspiration. Three of my favorites are blogs of Rica Peralejo, Bianca Gonzales and Karylle, although Karylle has no personal site and just posted her entries via yahoo her sharing still captures my interest.

I like Rica's blog Wanders & Wonders because she talks about family life, her joy of being a mother and wife and their travel and food trips! So cool and I learned so many things from her. Bianca's blog is all about things also that are happenings everyday and I like the way she shares events too, simple and absorbing.

I admire Rica's quiet life because she seems enjoying her new role now as a mother and wife, I like those baby photos she shared and her son is so adorable! I regularly visited her site to get some tips on motherhood and family life hehe!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sometimes During the Day...

I am dreaming a peaceful life...

I was born and raised in the province of Surigao del sur, where houses are nestled between mountain and sea, life back then was extremely peaceful and quiet and I had all the luxury to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of nature, marveling at the imposing mountains, wandering around streams and valleys with friends, chasing butterflies in the backyard, climbing fruit trees, picking wild berries, breathing fresh, clean air and just laugh and play and eat.

Weekends were either spent at the sea side, running after the splashing of the waves and collecting sea shells or at the river side, sitting and watching anything that could amuse my innocent mind. Summertime was always spent in the farm. Oh! Those were the best years of my life.

I attended college in Davao and took a permanent residence there when I started working, Davao is cool and such a lovely city, the environment is peaceful, everything is accessible and there’s no rush hour. I would spend my morning weekend at the People’s Park joining folks at the free aerobics session and would return home feeling refreshed. 

Sundays were spent in the church. I just lived in a boarding house just located at the back of the university where I worked, so there’s no hours wasted in traveling. The location is closer to downtown, to the church, shopping mall and wet market so I have plenty of time to spend at the kitchen cooking my favorite meals.

But life has to move on because real strength could not be revealed unless we’re confronted with challenges and risks. Months after I obtained my masteral degree I decided to go out from my comfort zone to see the other side of life and find balance and explore other opportunities and see where my courage would take me, chances are, if I would let time slips without even trying I might spend my life in regrets and what ifs.

Energy in the big metropolis like metro manila is quite intimidating, people are always in a hurry and everywhere I go, the public seems in a great panic, scrambling their way to catch a ride, oh God why the rush? Can we just walk slowly and enjoy the moment? 

Everyday it feels like I am in a battlefield of whatever fight is present in the morbid environment, absorbing dust, chasing with time, squeezing in mrt, squirming in the thick crowd to get my way out of the station. The sight of people swarming to the mrt station or running after the bus, gave me an instant headache. The moment I arrive at the workplace I am totally wasted and my energy started to sink and my eyes droopy, omg!! This is not the kind of life I dreamed.

But since I really wanted to discover things and look for other ways to enjoy my freedom and meet other people, I decided to come to the metro and now enduring the discomfort here, but I've no regrets, because I learned so many things and encountered so many interesting people.

Such a lovely country home style! I love this design, so cool and simple 
surrounded with trees and beautiful landscape, 
Lord, I hope someday I have a home like this haha!
Beautiful garden!

I'll just have to find ways to make my life worthwhile and to avoid being consumed with stress. Every weekend, I am contemplating to escape to the countryside and feel the stillness of the mother earth, breathe and just sit under the cool trees and relax!

Kitchen facing the garden
Dining area with big French windows surrounded by trees
Bedroom veranda facing lush plants

Sometimes during the day, I often dreamed of having my own small country house with lots of French windows surrounded with a beautiful garden, tropical plants, trees, flowers, organic vegetable farm and a small fruit orchard. My favorite area in the house is kitchen because I love to cook and experiment recipes, so I want a beautiful kitchen and dining area facing a small garden.

Okay, dream dream dream! ^___^

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Baking and all the goodness of food!

It's a rainy Sunday morning (Philippine time)! I love this kind of weather, especially during weekends because the atmosphere inside the house is a lot cooler and it invigorates my mind to think creatively haha!

And during rainy days I really love to eat!

I am thinking of baking cookies or scones, but my sister already prepared her ingredients for Cassava cake when I wake up so I just have to postpone my baking adventure next week. 

The heart cookies I baked a year ago haha!
Squash Muffins! Very healthy. Sometimes I would use Carrots instead of Squash

I truly love weekends because it is only during this period that I can be myself, do the things I want, cook and choose what to eat and spend time in the kitchen. Most of the time I only cook fish in stew with lots of vegetables and tomatoes, to compensate and balance the bad foods I often consumed in weekdays.

Creamy Gelatin
Yummy Gelatin!
My first attempt to bake Scones! Awww
Scone is a buttery-like cookies only that it is softer than the traditional cookies.
Scone is a tea food and very popular in Britain

Hopefully next week I could find enough time to bake cookies and Scones again, perhaps.

You can find the recipe of above foodie in my FOOD AND HOME LIFE BLOG


Friday, August 15, 2014

I am following a Mediterranean Diet!



So worried with my food consumption in the metro lately, so unhealthy raaar!! 

When I was still in Davao I personally cooked my meals everyday. I would wake up early in the morning to prepare my breakfast and my baon for lunch before going to work.

Now in the Metro, gosh! I hardly eat nutritious foods, except weekends. I could no longer cook foods in the morning because of the rush hour and in the evening, I'm too tired to think of cooking.

I am feed up also with the environment in McKinley Hill because there's no available food stalls offering "lutong bahay"! I hate meat and all those oily stuff, I am more on fish and vegetables.

For the past ten years, I am carefully watching my food intake. I thoroughly discarded soft drinks and chocolates and cut back on meat. 

To compensate the lacking nutrients, I pumped my body with nuts and fruits, particularly grapes, avocado and Kiwi and continued my Mediterranean Diet which I started about two years ago. 

Don't misinterpret the word dieting here, it doesn't mean trimming down hopelessly but just balancing meals to achieve the RDA (recommended dietary allowance).

So what's this Mediterranean Diet?

According to several articles on health news bulletin, most people around the Mediterranean region (Greece, Cyprus, Monaco, France, Slovenia etc.) have rare cases of cancer, obesity and cardiovascular disorder which intrigued scientists for many decades because these people are known also to have large consumption of high fatty foods, later this mystery was attributed to their eating habit which became the subject of many research studies and now widely recognized as a Mediterranean diet.

Mediterranean Diet refers to the type of nutritional diet followed by people in the Mediterranean region. This diet consists only of fruits, vegetables, olive oil and fish with below average intake on dairy products and red meat. This eating habit helps reduce the risks of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. It prevents weight gain and promotes longevity.

According to a study conducted by Martinez-Gonzales et.al in Europe, "Substantial protection against diabetes can be obtained by following a Mediterranean Diet". This means that people should lower their dairy products and red meat intakes and concentrate more in consuming monounsaturated fats foods, fruits, olive oil, fish, vegetables, legumes, nuts and cereals.

In the past years, a research study also revealed that women around the Mediterranean area have rare cases of developing breast cancer compared to women living in the United States where red meat and high fat intakes are very popular.

So to avoid the risk of developing chronic illnesses in the future, start following the Mediterranean Diet now before it's too late.

The Mediterranean emphasizes eating plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grain, eating fish and other sea food products, using olive oil or Canola oil instead of lard, butter, palm oil, and other saturated fats-based oil, avoiding meat as much as possible or limit intake (just eat meat once every two weeks) and dairy products intake (eggs, chicken and other poultry products to at least twice a week only). 


Whole wheat bread is healthier than white bread. Mediterranean Diet advises individuals not to consume too much processed foods like hotdog, bacon, sausages, tocino and ham as they contain carcinogenic elements.

The idea of practising a Mediterranean diet is not on avoiding or limiting fat consumption, in fact Mediterranean people are known to have high consumption on fatty foods, but choose what type of fats you are consuming, for example use Olive oil, canola oil or flaxseed oil instead of palm oil, butter, lard or other hydrogenated fats which heavily contribute to heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Olive oil, avocado, canola oil, nuts, flaxseed are fatty foods but they are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats which contain linolenic acid, a type of omega 3 fatty acid that protects people from coronary and heart diseases, cancer especially colorectal cancer and other illnesses. These foods are antioxidants which fight free radicals.

Foods composed of Mediterranean Diet:
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Cereals
  • Whole Grain (whole wheat bread, red rice, brown rice)
  • Nuts
  • Olive Oil 
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid:
  • 25% Whole Grains
  • 25% Vegetables and Fruits
  • 20% Olive oil in variable amount
  • 20% Fish
  • 6% Poultry and Dairy products
  • 2% Sweets
  • 2% Meat
Benefits of Mediterranean Diet:
  • Rich in antioxidants which fight free-radicals, the primary cause of chronic illnesses and premature aging
  • Prevents heart and cardiovascular diseases
  • Reduces the risk of Cancer especially Breast and Colon cancers
  • Reduces the risks of Diabetes, Obesity and Chronic brochitis and emphysema
  • Protects from Alzheimer's disease
  • Improves life span and quality of life
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Promotes weight loss and healthy digestive tract
  • Helps resist depression

Take a look on my Mediterranean Diet plan I created when I was still in Davao:

Breakfast:
  • Brown Rice
  • Broccoli and Carrots cooked in Olive Oil with Garlic and Onions (or any other green leafy vegetables)
  • Green Tea with Honey
  • Kiwi fruit
Lunch:
  • Brown Rice
  • Asparagus and Broccoli cooked in *Olive Oil with Garlic, tomatoes and Onions
  • Fish
  • Mango or Banana
  • Carrot Juice or Kalamansi Juice
Dinner
  • Whole Wheat Bread or one bowl of Oatmeal/Corn Flakes
  • Grapes
  • Almond Nuts
  • One glass of hot (low fat) milk or vitamilk
*Olive oil is a bit expensive, if you are not comfortable with the high price of olive oil, try to choose canola oil or flaxseed oil.

THIS POST APPEARS ORIGINALLY IN MY HOME LIFE BLOG, CLICK HERE

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Someday, I know I can find answers....

“Though sorrow may impede my heart, 
It is of great love to have known you.” 


Finally it's weekend, the only period where I could truly feel I'm totally human, no deadlines to scramble, no complicated rules to grasp, no anxieties to absorb. Freedom is all over the place and I have plenty of time to think about everything in my environment, about my life, about where I am heading.

But this weekend is not so much of joy, as if some degree of happiness is slowly slipping, I don't know what it is but as the moment progresses, it feels like a terrible pain is gushing beneath my system and my little world feels like crumbling and I wanted to cry.

What is it again God? Why it feels as though life is treating me so badly again?

Whether I am disappointed towards something or enduring a silent heartache I am not certain and I don't have a clear answer because it has no roots or whatever and I cannot figure out where it started because it suddenly springs out from nowhere.

Am I started to care about someone but frustrated because it appears like I am dragging myself again in the wrong footing of assumption? And there's a good chance, I will be traversing again in the road of dejection. But life is a journey and somewhere along this journey, pain, hurts and dejection are bound to happen.

Hope...hopeless, whatever it is...but when life seems pushing me to the edge of the wall, hope is always a fascinating word to clinch, because it reminds me that beyond the darkest horizon, there's always a good reason to smile, to celebrate life. Sometimes when the environment is a little bit crazy and things become too noisy, anticipating a beautiful tomorrow seems to be the only tool to survive a sordid day.

I can be a total idiot at times, you know that naive cretin who never know exactly how to draw a line between logic and emotion, inching way beyond what reality provides. It often brings disaster emotionally. I've been through with it and I find it quite tiring. But don't get me wrong, I have never been into a relationship all my life not even a date, but there were instances in the past that I cared a lot but ended in rejection. It was a kind of pain that I would never want to experience again.

I often left wondering then if there was something wrong with myself, or if my face was badly distorted. I felt my life crumpled into pieces. But those were the days, I was able to discard those self-defeating thoughts about myself and able to move on with my life. Never did I imagine I would be tramping in the same road again...

Well, the trouble lies on too much expectation maybe, so much so that everything always ended up on the wrong side of the road. It's bloody painful. And there's nothing cute about heartaches. But pain is not bad. God designs everything, even frustrations and disappointments, to teach us a lesson and make us a better person.

But it appears as though I am forever in search of meaning, forever trap in whatever puzzle that shrouded my existence, as if I am eternally walking in a troubled maze, criss-crossing the intersection that has no end, don't know exactly where the route would take me.

Battling rejection, enduring pain for wanting something that could never be given, forever stuck in a certain belief that I am not good at anything and I am not good for anyone, nobody wants me and that someone I always wanted is like a shooting star, too difficult to catch and maybe it would take another generation before I could catch one.

I figured, the reason why I am wedging in the corner of desolation is maybe because I speculate too much, and well, according to one poet, speculation is like staring at the sun, you know the sun is there but you cannot see a thing. And the story is always like that, even after so many contemplation, I cannot see a thing.

And thoroughly, my illusion again pushes me to the seashore of pain where starfishes are meant to die...

The story of life is not all about those splendid, rosy things, it's not all about the sweet aroma of a beautiful morning when papayas are in bloom, it's not all about happiness, excitement and thrill, it's not all about those inspiring moments when someone compliments our gorgeous dress or fantastic hair style, it's also about sadness, failure and pain, to see the other side of the story and find our balance, to figure out what road to take and what decision to make.

We all have bad days, we often hit rock bottom, but it's a normal process and there's nothing to fret on because we're alive, we continue to relate with other humans, and for as long as we are relating and in search of meaning, we will encounter failure and disappointment along the way, but it's also through this cycle that we often find honest answers to what we have been looking for.

I am emotionally mature already, fully understand that life has its ups and downs, and people do have choices that must be respected. As the sun goes down, another dawn is breaking. Tomorrow is another day....

And somewhere beyond the gloomy horizon, a shimmering light of a beautiful sunshine peeks reminding me that everyday brings hope...and the cycle of life continues...

Someday, I can find answers to every question that is fidgeting in my mind now, someday, I know God will hear all my longings and will make things happen. Someday, I know there's still someone, somewhere in this world, who could truly see my value.

Someday...I would no longer see starfishes dying in the seashore...and I am looking forward to see that day...Until then...


Monday, August 4, 2014

Unmistakable Thrill of Magic



There are moments that we feel like being stuck in the corner of desolation but that’s our human side. God is so huge! Larger than our problems and concerns. He always makes things possible. He has bigger plans better than what we’ve always dreamed of. He knows what’s best for us, where we should be walking and to whom we should start relating. It might be delayed, or a little bit late based on our timeline but trust God for His time is always perfect. 


Life does not end in misery or in rejection or in chaos. It’s a continuous quest and somewhere along this journey, we will really meet nice people who deserve our attention, who are wonderful, selfless and supportive. They did not just pop in unto our horizon for no reasons, it’s the work of God, His precious gifts destined to cross our paths to be the instrument of a new hope and motivation.


Let’s embrace that unmistakable thrill of magic, it is real, let us be inspired and be thankful to the people we have just meet. They are God’s gifts, someone worthy to keep and cherish.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pressure, Pressure!!!




The most difficult part of being a woman in this morbid present society, is when you hit the dreaded age where everyone is expected you to settle down and have kids. People began to pounce you on the "biological clock" issue as if a woman's only role in this world is just to breed and nothing else.

But in what stage in a woman's life really this biological clock will chime its final warning toll? There are women I know who got pregnant for the first time beyond 42 with no medical condition concerns while there are girls who never conceive even though they got married at the age of 25 or 30.

The saddest part of this pressure is it pushes many women to venture into sad relationships, miserable marriages and abusive men.

Luckily for me, I've read tons of self-developmental books long before the people in my circle began badgering me about marrying, so I am no longer affected. But it's a bloody hell trying to absorb the annoying pressure and my only diplomatic response is to shrug my shoulder.

Marriage is an institution and family is a fundamental unit in the society, thus, should not be viewed on the wrong concept. It is a lifetime commitment that must be entered only when a man and a woman are both emotionally, mentally and spiritually prepared and not because the biological clock is already ticking fast.

But what is really the psychological reason behind this pressure? One sure answer is --- cultural. Our tradition dictates  that people should live based on a certain pattern of our culture and everyone is expected to follow this pattern --- attend school, find a job, get married and have kids --- and if someone is not following, people began to wonder why, they thought that someone is some sort of a drifter or a lost soul for not obeying this societal process.

Are we nuts of trying to time warp ourselves back to 1920s or 1940s where marrying straight from high school was the norm? Is it the main concern of the modern life? How about preparedness? Or meeting a right person?

I've been thinking hard about my fate lately, it's not that I am slowly yielding to the pressure but I just could not help but think if there's really someone meant for me.

This is ridiculous to think but seriously I've never been into relationships not even in the past. I was so careful with my journey that I never tried even once. While girls my age changed boyfriends as fast as they changed their trousers or had settled with the man of their dreams, I'm yet to go for my first date.

Crazy to think but my life just revolved around the workplace, going to the church and home plus a frequent trip to the kitchen, unfortunately, there's no opportunity to meet guys between the living room and the kitchen.

In college, I made a decision what others thought was absolute madness --- no boys, no suitors, no dates - until I finished school. Then and only then I would think about romantic involvement. But when I got a job, I developed another stubborn principle --- no boys until 28. Well, with no apparent reason. It was just maybe my excuse because I did not find someone who caught my fancy haha!

Until months rolled into years and many more years, until finding "the one" became an eternal quest. Oh heaven! Is there still someone left for me? Would he still come? Can I still settle down? Where's my SOULMATE God? Can you show him to me before weariness and frustrations eat my whole system?

I prayed intensely though. Regularly and wholeheartedly. That circumstances and time will conspire to allow my destiny to collide with that elusive "the one".

Despite all these vague possibilities, I am very confident God will reveal His masterplan in due time. Because as we know, God sets His own time for everything, including marriage.

As the famous phrase would have it "TRUE LOVE IS WORTH THE WAIT". I hope so :-D
The following verses in the Holy Bible explain the value of waiting very clearly....

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

"Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses... 



"2He sets the time for birth and the time for death, the time for planting and the time for pulling up...
"3Thetime for killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building...
"4 He sets the time for sorrow and the time for joy, the time for mourning and the time for dancing...
"5 the time for making love and the time for not making love, the time for kissing and the time for not kissing...
"6 He sets the time for finding and the time for losing, the time for saving and the time for throwing away...
"7 the time for tearing and the time for mending, the time for silence and the time for talk...
"8 He sets the time for love and the time for hate, the time for war and the time for peace...
"9 What do we gain from all our work? 
"10 I know the heavy burdens that God has laid on us...
"11 He has set the right time for everything. He has given us a desire to know the future, but never gives us the satisfaction of fully understanding what he does...
"12 So I realized that all we can do is be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive...
"13 All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God's gift...
"14 I know that everything God does will last forever. You can't add anything to it or take anything away from it. And one thing God does is to make us stand in awe of him...
"15 Whatever happens or can happen has already happened before. God makes the same thing happen again and again.