How I Tried to Eat Healthy… and Failed Sometimes

I quit drinking coke the day after my birthday in 2014.  I think I am quite successful with it since I get comments from my friends that I lost weight.  I noticed that when I watch what I eat, I lose weight faster.  So I try to eat as healthy as possible.  To be able to have control over what I eat, I need to prepare and cook my meals.

I made some effort to cook and prepare healthier alternatives to our usual fatty meals and sugar-rich desserts and snacks.

I saw this on instagram and I wanted to try it myself.

Not your usual egg and french fries.

Not your usual egg and french fries.

That is half a peach, yogurt and sliced apple.  I discovered that an apple dipped in yogurt is delicious.


Since I still have that yogurt, another alternative to the “fries and eggs” would those cakes in a jar. I prepared my fruits.  I was thinking of layering them like a parfait. I have the cooked oats to replace the cake, yogurt for the cream and the fruits.


I used a mayonnaise jar.  (There are a lot of mason jars being sold in stores. You can use those, too.)


I should have cut  the fruits into smaller pieces to make the layers more define. I  still have excess ingredients that did not fit in the jar.  They went to the bowl for instant gratification.


 I did not use sugar so it tasted bland but the mango and apple are sweet so it was okay for me.  My aunt has a different opinion.  Hahaha She did not like it.  It was not for her anyway.

The pope was in the country and my aunts were glued to the TV so I volunteered to prepare one meal for them. I wanted try cooking the fish tinola (fish soup) I had  like what I have tasted in a shrimp place we tried.


On the lower left is pan-fried seafood tofu. It was sold frozen in one fish store in the city. On the lower right is bacalao sauteed in oil and garlic. It was sold in jar from the same fish store I bought the tofu from. Bacalao is a type of fish which then dried and placed in a jar like sardines. I also bought the tuna I used for the fish tinola from the same store.

Since I still have yogurt, I mixed  cubed peaches and froze it.   I unmolded the  frozen yogurt into the plate and garnished it with sliced peaches.


I am trying to eat healthy because of this 21-day challenge.


However, I received  a message from a childhood friend whom I have not seen in a long time that she would be sending me goodies she made through her brother. Of course, I will not refuse that wonderful gesture of friendship.  I got leche flan, ham and cheese puto and brownies.


After devouring the food, I am back to Day 1 of the 21-day no junkfood challege. Good thing, my uncle came and brought me guavas.


I think it is okay to take a break from dieting and enjoy life’s simple pleasures like a thoughtful gesture from a friend.

More Art, A Poem and A New Craft

I am still not done with my friends’ requests for an artwork (which also doubles as my Christmas gift). My friend, Ernelyn, wanted a bamboo painting with a bird.  I thought this was an easy task since the first watercolor lesson we were  taught in high school was painting a bamboo. However, the artwork I took inspiration from was a thicker bamboo. I used to be able to paint the trunk with one  stroke using a thick brush. Now, I had to use multiple strokes and it required a certain amount of water to make the strokes unnoticeable.  It was challenging. This is the final artwork.


My friend liked it and that matters most.  (Or she had no choice! hahaha I did my best with this one.)

My friend, Wela, wanted a lighthouse with a sea and some rocks. I let her choose from different pegs. I had trouble with making the rocks look like real rocks but I have to settle with a ‘cartoonish’ version.  I’ll practice more. This is the final artwork.


She was happy with the artwork that she made me a poem.  My friend (who happens to be a cousin also) writes beautiful poems. She often does this when someone close to her celebrates a birthday.  I requested for a poem on my next birthday and, in exchange, I’ll record a song for her.  No, I am not a good singer. I do not sing when we gather together for a night of karaoke.  I have stage fright. I sing averagely okay when I am alone but put someone to listen to my voice and  no sound would come out.  Thus, I will just send a recording.  Hehe  But when we gathered for breakfast early this January, they urged me to sing which I obliged because a friend who is a very good singer sang with me.

This is the poem she made for me:

A song to sing,
A joy you bring,
To this morning gathering,
Of friends who are truly caring.

A friend since nineteen eighty six,
A gal who’s a wonderful mix,
Of talents and wit,
Of a genius that’s only fit.

Grateful to God for having met you,
A friend who is loving and true,
May you never be blue,
For in His perfect timing your prince
charming will be due! 

Yes, your parents may have gone ahead,
And left you longing instead,
But always remember, in this life there
are no accidents,
Things happen for a reason and not just by mere

So as you welcome the year two thousand fifteen,
Whatever may happen in between,
Stand still and be strong,
For with the Lord by your side, nothing can go

What a nice gift! I really have sweet friends.  Thank you, God!

Now back to more painting. These are three different cherry blossoms-like painting which I will ask my friend to choose (if she likes any) since she wanted something similar to what I previously did for another friend.


Yesterday, I finally tried my pastel dye.  I bought this last Christmas as gifts for my godchildren and I bought one for myself.   When I painted bougainvillea last year, my friend, Mau, wanted the artwork but she is a wanderlust. I told her she would just leave behind the painting in her house which she only visits a few times a year.  I told her I’ll put it in a t-shirt.


I thought of printing the artwork on an iron-on sheet but I cannot find a sheet here. I asked about t-shirt printing and it was a little expensive which I was willing to pay for but when I asked about it, they cannot deliver at the time when Mau is in town. I have totally forgotten about t-shirt until I saw the pastels in a store.


This is what  I did. I drew the design using a marker on a white sheet. I taped the sketch on an illustration board which I inserted inside the t-shirt. Then, I began tracing the design.

This is the finished work.


I really enjoy creating something with my hands.  I am off to do more. I still have some requests to fulfill.  Bye for now!

10 Moments I Love When Pope Francis Visited the Philippines

I have always said that I am not a devout Catholic. I am guilty of doing things for “compliance”. I was already in college when World Youth Day was held in the Philippines in 1995. I was in Manila and in my youth but I did not attend any gathering. I was that type of Catholic. I cannot remember what I did during those times while my friends braved the crowd in Manila. All I remembered was I stayed in the dormitory. When I learned about Pope Francis visiting Philippines, I was thrilled but I was not as thrilled as some of my friends who went out of their way to go to Tacloban.

My friends, Maureen and Lestrel, was already in Tacloban airport the night before Pope Francis arrived.

My friends, Maureen and Lestrel, were already in Tacloban airport the night before Pope Francis arrived. I felt I was there because my friends were there.

When I told Maureen I used her photo, she said she has a better photo. The raincoat she was wearing already ripped. She said she was soaked in the rain for 7 hours without raincoat, not counting that she was already drenched the night before. Yet, she survived. Look at them! They are still high in spirits despite the storm!


As for me, January 15 was a regular day for me. I ran errands. I was in BIR (yes, of all places). I was waiting for my turn. They were showing the live feeds of people gathering for the arrival of the Pope. Suddenly, I wanted the transaction to finish immediately so that I can go home and concentrate on watching his arrival in the comforts of my living room.

I worked in front of the TV for 4 days to watch the coverage of the Papal Visit.

I worked in front of the TV for 4 days to watch the coverage of the Papal Visit.

While waiting for his arrival, I quickly search for his schedule in the Philippines so that I can watch him on TV. I scheduled my errands and work around his schedule. Sometimes, I surprise myself.

I try to think about what I am going to reflect on his visit but I find myself in a loss for words.  There are so many wonderful moments of his visit and these are 10 things that affected me most.

1. When he peered though the airplane window, I wanted to cry.  It was the first sign that he was finally in my country.

This is the photo I found on

This is the photo I found on

2. He chooses a non-bulletproof pope mobile. He rides on vehicles with open windows. He does this to get close to people. He looks at people in the eye and he has the warmest smile.

3. He quoted Jesus telling Peter, “Do you love me?” For which the mass goers composed of  bishops, priests and nuns replied, “Yes!” It was a light moment. He was amused and said “Thank you.” and clarified that he was reading Jesus’ words.


4. He is happy to be with children. He would stop the convoy to bless children.  He had an unscheduled visit to an orphanage. What a lovely human being!

Photo by: Osservatore Romano/Reuters

Photo by Osservatore Romano/Reuters

5. I love how he gave spontaneous speeches. He ditched his prepared speeches to speak on how he felt at that moment.

6. He went to Tacloban even if there was a typhoon and it was signal number 2.




7. On the way to Palo to meet disaster survivors, he stopped to bless a family living in a shanty.

8. He does not pretend to know all the answers.

I thank you Jun for talking about your experience so bravely. As I said, the heart of your question has no reply. Only when we too can cry about the things you said can we come close to answering that question. Why do children suffer so much? Why do children suffer? When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. – Pope Francis to the UST crowd

So many of you have lost everything. I don’t know what to say to you. But the Lord does know what to say to you.  – Pope Francis to the Yolanda survivors
9.  He honored the life of Kristel Pasadas, who died  after the Tacloban mass when a scaffolding blown by a strong wind fell on her. He met with her grieving father to console him
Yesterday, as Mass was about to start, a piece of scaffolding fell and, upon falling, hit a young woman who was working in the area and she died. Her name is Kristel. She worked for the organization preparing for that Mass. She was 27 years old, young like yourselves. She worked for Catholic Relief Services as a volunteer. I would like all of you who are young like her to pray for a moment in silence with me and then we will pray to Our Mother in Heaven.

10. He always asks us to pray for him. There is really power in prayer. God hears our prayers.

Oh, I would add one more… he acknowledges the voices of women.

There’s only a very small representation of girls among you. Too little. Women have much to tell us in today’s society. Sometimes we are too “machistas” and we don’t allow enough space to women. But women can see things from a different angle to us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions we men are unable to understand. Look out for this fact: she is the only one who has put a question for which there is no answer. She couldn’t put it into words but expressed it with tears. So when the next pope comes to Manila, please let there be more girls.

As I finished this post, the pope has already left. I am proud of the Filipino people for giving him a warm welcome. I love how organized the people are in lining up to see the pope. Congratulations to the organizers for this successful five-day visit.

Here are few words from Pope Francis when he visited the Philippines:

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2. When you lose this capacity to dream, you lose the capacity to love, and this energy to love is lost.

3. Rest is so necessary for the health of our minds and bodies, and often so difficult to achieve due to the many demands placed on us. But rest is also essential for our spiritual health, so that we can hear God’s voice and understand what he asks of us.

4. You must make time each day for prayer. Prayer is resting in God.

5. Faith does not remove us from the world, but draws us more deeply into it. It’s very important. We must go deeply in the world, but with the force of prayer. Each of us, in fact, has a special role in preparing for the coming of God’s kingdom in our world.

6. We have a high priest who is capable of symphatizing with our weaknesses but one who is similarly been tested in every way yet without sin. Jesus is like us. Jesus lived like us. Jesus is the same with us in every respect except sin. Because Jesus was not a sinner. But to be more like us, He assumed our condition and our sin. He made himself unto sin. This is what Saint Paul tells us. Jesus always goes before us. And when we pass and experience a cross, He passed there before us.And if today we find ourselves 14 months after, 14 months precisely after the typhoon Yolanda hit, it is because we have the security of knowing that we are not going to weaken in our faith, because Jesus has been there before us. In His passion, He assumed all our pain.

7. This is what comes from my heart and forgive me if I have no other words to express this: But please know, Jesus never lets you down. Please know that the love and tenderness of Mother Mary never lets you down. And holding on to her mantle and with the power that comes from Jesus love on the cross, let us move forward, always forward, and walk together as brothers and sisters in the Lord forward.

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9. When the heart is able to ask itself and weep, then we can understand something. There is a worldly compassion which is useless. You expressed something like this. It’s a compassion that makes us put our hands in our pockets and give something to the poor.

10. What you think, you must feel and put into effect. Your information comes down to your heart and you put it into practice. Harmoniously. What you think, you feel and you do. Feel what you think and feel what you do. Do what you think and what you feel.

11. Real love is about loving and letting yourself be loved. It’s harder to let yourself be loved than to love. That is why it is so difficult to come to the perfect love of God. We can love Him but we must let ourselves be loved by Him. Real love is being open to the love that comes to you. The love that surprises us. If you only have information you are not surprised. Love surprises because it opens a dialogue of loving and being loved. God is a God of surprise because He loved us first. God awaits us to surprise us. Let us allow ourselves to be surprised by God.

12.  Become a beggar. This is what you still lack. Learn how to beg. This isn’t easy to understand. To learn how to beg. To learn how to receive with humility. To learn to be evangelized by the poor, by those we help, the sick, orphans, they have so much to give us.

13. Reality is superior to ideas.

14. In the Gospel, Jesus welcomes children, he embraces them and blesses them (Mk 10:16).  We too need to protect, guide and encourage our young people, helping them to build a society worthy of their great spiritual and cultural heritage.  Specifically, we need to see each child as a gift to be welcomed, cherished and protected.  And we need to care for our young people, not allowing them to be robbed of hope and condemned to life on the streets.

15.  Now, at the end of my visit to the Philippines, I commend you to him, to Jesus who came among us as a child.  May he enable all the beloved people of this country to work together, protecting one another, beginning with your families and communities, in building a world of justice, integrity and peace.

Pope Francis left us a challenge.


Pope Francis is an inspiration. Thank you, God, for Pope Francis!

Cheers to Friendship!

In the previous post, I wrote about my plans for the year. On the first week of the year, I think I have done two of the plans: make time of  people I love and nurture friendship.  With this blogpost, I would be able to “show appreciation more”.

On January 1, my friend Shirly and I agreed to go for an early morning walk and visit that breakfast place near Gaisano. However, later in the day, we got a message from Ernelyn inviting us for breakfast in her house. Our friend, Marvin, would be leaving that evening and it was the only time he was free for a get-together. It was a morning of good food, good friends and a lot of singing. Marvin is an accomplished singer and voice teacher.


In the afternoon of January 2, I met up with my high school friends, Chin and Jonah with their super cute daughter, Livie.


In the evening, I had dinner with my friends, Shirly, Dinah and Wilbert.  We had coffee and foot massage after.

On January 3, I met up with my travel friends.We visited our friend, Ayet, at her hotel room because we learned that she got an ear infection. Good thing, she was already better and we were able to chitchat over junk food. We went out for coffee, too.


On the same night, I proceeded to another resto to meet up with friends. Three of them were leaving the next day.


By January 4, my body called for a rest. I was in bed most of the day nursing a headache.

Everyone was back to the grind by January 5. The freelancer that I am, also needed to get things done. I edited the wedding photos I took on December 30.

On January 6, I was on Facebook early in the morning when I saw January’s status stating that she was traveling to Butuan. January blogs at, and I immediately arranged for us to meet up. Good thing she was free that afternoon. I brought her to Margie’s and we chitchatted like old friends. Since we read each other’s blog, we never ran out of topic to talk about. Thank you for meeting me, Janz!


Later in the evening, I had dinner with good friends, Shirly, Ernelyn, Mitzi and Dinah.


Shirly spent the night at  my house for a much-needed catching up. We pushed through with our plan to walk to the the breakfast place I wanted to try.


On January 8, my cousins, Arvin and Tweetty, and their friends, Goy and Lyn, went to try the new shrimp place. It was celebration that I finished editing the photos. Hehe! Lyn’s brother was the groom at the wedding.


And you think, I was done with the get together?  Yesterday, my aunts, uncle  and cousins went to the house of a family friend for an afternoon gathering.


Thank you, God, for good friends.

Let me take this opportunity to thank my thoughtful friends. I got all these gifts for Christmas.


I did not even ask for these gifts. I am blessed. I feel loved.  I love you all! No, I do not love them because I got gifts. I love them because  they never fail to show me how wonderful it is to have friends and be loved. With friends like these, who needs a love life?  Kidding! Thank you, friends.

So what did I get for my friends? Some of them became guinea pigs for my artwork.  Hehe! Yes, I made artworks for friends. I still have pending requests to accomplish.  (Am I such a cheapskate for not spending a lot for gifts? LOL!)

These are the artworks I have made.


Cheers to friendship!

The 25 Things I Plan to Do in 2015

My Moleskine planner arrived yesterday. Thanks to my friend, Grace! The package from Dubai came with a handwritten note and a lucky charm from Japan. Sweet!


I have doodled (I am bad at it!) on one of the pages to express my plans for the year. This is my vision board.

1. Open an online watercolor art store. My friend, Grace, told me to open an Etsy store. I am still thinking about it. I am inclined to just start a Facebook page. Whatever it is I will finally decide on, I need to plan my painting time. I also need original paintings done. Most of my watercolor artworks are copies of existing ones.

2. Offer watercolor painting workshop. Another friend messaged me if I can teach her kids watercolor art. For this to push through, I need to plan on how to go about this one. I need to recall how my high school teacher taught us art.  Plus, I can only teach what I know. That means painting subjects like flowers, food and animals.

3. Learn lettering and calligraphy. I am fascinated with beautiful penmanship. I am a fan of Fozzy Castro-Dayrit. She does an amazing calligraphy work. I have yet to buy my first set of nibs and other tools for calligraphy. For now, I will try to just use these calligraphy pens to practice.


4. Blog regularly. I am trying to do this better. I write long posts so I really need to allot time for this one. Plus, I am picky with photos. It takes me hours to finish a blog post.  Hopefully, I will find away around this problem.

5. Share blog posts in social media. A friend of mine asked, “How do I read your blog?” She knows I have one but she does not know where to find it because I do not share my posts except among my BCBlogger friends and other blogging network.  I feel that I share too much on social media that sharing my writing feels like oversharing. I still feel uncomfortable letting my friends read my thoughts.  There is also that fear of embarrassing myself with grammar mistakes.

6. Invest. My friend invested on a mutual fund. I will follow suit this year. I just need to look through my finances and find sources where I can get myself enough budget to explore this option.

7. Take small risks. I want to learn about trading stocks. There are risks so I still need to read more about it.

8. Live with intent and purpose. My friends and I finished reading Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life last August and, at the end of the 40-day reading  period, I still have not figured out my purpose. For now, I think my purpose is making time for people- being there for people when my presence and attention are needed.

9. Read more. Oh, I did not read a lot of books in 2014. I need to change that. I am currently reading this one. I know. It is an easy read but it is a start.


10. Show appreciation more. I am not very much of a verbal person. (Although some of my friends would argue that I am talkative.) It is easy to express what is on my mind but not how I feel. I just need to show appreciation to people who made my life easier. I know I am loved by God. There are people He send my way who have shown me kindness, given me trust and offered help. I do not think I have thanked these people enough.

11. Make time for people I love. At the start new year, I was in a number of get-together with friends. I had to take advantage of the time that they were still here. A number of them flew back to where they work. I hope to become that person who makes time for things that matter and people I cared for.

12. Work with passion. I try to bring my heart and soul to the work that I do. I try to give it my best shot at all times. Kinakarir ang lahat ng bagay. (I treat everything like a career, like I was paid to do it.) Work, for me, does not have to be paid work. Work can be projects I do on the side just because I like doing them.

13. Work smart. This means I also need to manage my time and achieve a work-life balance.

14. Pray more. I always say that I am not a deeply religious Catholic. I sometimes sleep without praying. Bad, I know. However, I am amazed how God works in my life that I feel that if I talk to Him more, I will be more equipped to face whatever challenges that come my way.

15. Create. 

16. Innovate. I am inspired by many kickstarter projects. I often find myself saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”  I hope I can start my own project. I wish for some spark of inspiration.

17.  Be healthy, exercise more. Three of my friends are into fitness and it is inspiring to see them transform into their fitter selves.  I have trimmed 2 inches off my waistline through regular exercise and eating smaller portions.  But I gained the inches back over the Christmas vacation. Next week, I will start this 21-day challenge posted by my friend, Grace.


18. Keep things in order. I started cleaning my room last year but my closet is still full, the other room still needs to be organized and I still have a lot of laundry to do. I wish I can be like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs who would wear the same type of clothes everyday so I can trim down my closet to a few pieces. I am no clotheshorse nor a fashionista but I still want variety in what I wear.  I just need to weed out my closet of clothes I no longer wear often.

19. Invest in experience. I am always excited to explore new places and try new things. I will continue to do so this year.

20. Nurture friendship. I try to accommodate as many people in my life as possible. Although I call my travel friends as Team Laagan and some of my close friends, The Core Group,  anyone can join in this circle of friends. I never grew up with a best friend or a barkada. I hang out with different people and I keep in touch with a lot of friends. I never join clubs and associations because of their exclusivity. I function well when I develop friendship with a person (individually not a group).

21. Write more. I am not really a writer. You know, the type who can create sentences that sound like a lullabye. I write the way I talk. I just translate my Bisaya into English. However, writing has been my bread and butter since 2012 and it has brought me places, fed me and clothe me. I am still not good at it. I try to. They say one needs to write 1000 words a day to develop their writing skills. I hope to do that this year.

22. Learn paper flower craft. Look how gorgeous these are.

23.  Learn how to create bento meals. I follow bentobykat on instagram. I want to try these, too! So creative!


24. More photography. I enjoy this hobby. I have a lot to learn. Good thing I have appreciative friends and a patient cousin who teaches me photography tricks.

25. Continue to be grateful.  I am blessed in many ways. Thank you, God, for never abandoning me even when I am not worthy of your love.

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