JSYK, WFH on (M)ECQ is GR8.

Today is the 50th day since I got permission to work from home. It’s only been two months but it feels longer and it’s weird. Well, many things do not feel (and are not) normal anymore anyway, so what the heck, Gregory Peck.

This work from home setup works for me. There, I said it. I know this is not going to be forever but trying it out like this eliminated the wondering part in my head. I think what made it interesting despite doing almost the same work is the how part: setting up remote access to multiple mailboxes and connected databases, figuring out what location works best in terms of lighting and ventilation (the smaller the space, the harder it is to figure out, no kidding), even checking what times during the day my unreliable internet connection will be supportive of my effort to continue my livelihood.

WEEKS ONE AND TWO. Because of my proximity to my office I was asked if I can report to work along with co-workers who live in the same city. We triaged the nature of work and took it from there, changing priorities daily as most decisions were made on the fly. Plus it’s not as if we only had to deal with whatever was left before we suspended operations. Let’s just say if 10 items were left in the queue, a fresh 500 came in daily because our clients needed urgent services. It was 8 long days of voluminous emails, workspace relocation, and uncertainty and worry that I might be bringing home the virus to my family despite following safety protocols and the office providing all the support that they possibly can given the circumstances.

img_3020WEEKS THREE TO FIVE. It was a Saturday when the first fatality from COVID was announced in our barangay. Our officials decided on stricter mobility measures so I asked to work from home beginning Monday. This span of time was the hardest phase of my adjustment. I was very anxious during my working hours and I felt the toxic trap of working longer than what’s normally expected and feeling that I was not productive ergo unreliable. Crappy internet aside, most elements were in my favor; the luxury of getting up 15 minutes before work (sa gabi ako naliligo, okay? Ang defensive lang haha), no quota, no face-to-face interaction, and I can step out to buy necessities.  But you know, I was your resident Anxiety Judie so I was always exhausted for someone who was glued to the couch practically the whole day.

WEEK SIX TO PRESENT.  I must have hit anxiety bottom so on Monday of the sixth week I found myself calm and collected and no longer that anxious. This is work, not a race! I also discovered that working slowly but surely also bodes well with my internet connection. Simply put, I got my groove on.

While I credit prayers and mindset shift (eh, prayers mostly), it’s also the other adjustments that did it.  See, I started this WFH gig in the living room and I thought it was optimal because I was on the couch, my table was there big enough to house my laptop, my notebook, and food, and it’s directly in front of the TV where I can watch the news or at best listen to noise. However, it was so hot that my two electric fans were probably as exhausted as me after 8 hours. They were blowing hot air, too, around 2 pm. The pretend bougie in me was annoyed. 

img_3019I decided to move upstairs in the main bedroom where the lone AC unit is. It did wonders as I realized it’s easier to get pissed when you feel you’re in flames and water comes out of all the pores of your big body. Think of the higher electric bill later, I said.  And it was then that I felt a tad better.  But wait! The thing with working in the bedroom is…yup, it’s the bedroom.  And ours is small that I just sit at the edge of the bed to reach my table. Many times I just lean back and bam! Nap time! Then I lift my upper body after 10-15 minutes and it’s back to answering the unending inquiries again. How healthy. 

I forgot when but I did something about it to prevent unnecessary nap times. I took a cushioned chair so I am just beside the bed. Next came the need to regularly stretch my legs. I needed a standing desk! I don’t have one so it’s MacGyver the ergonomics it is! So it’s my main table, then an old laptop table, then a stack of books, and I simply adjust as necessary. I do it a few times a day.  The disassembling part to go back to just chair and table is in itself a break, a workout of sorts. 

And oh, another mini-setback: I almost lost the use of my laptop. It was one happy morning when my “MacGyver’d” table collapsed. It had a cup of hot coffee on it and for some funny reason the liquid zeroed in on the keyboard. I turned the device upside down to drain it out but it was unresponsive the whole day. I worked using a different device and was ready to throw a hissy crying fit seek options to replace it (ang tapang ko talaga for someone na walang pera, I’m telling you LOL) until I turned it on and voila! It’s working again, albeit with a coffee-scented keyboard. Some keys were “crunchy”, too. Guess it’s the coffee granules that dried. At any rate, an unexpected curveball, sure, but Anxiety Judie was in check, so I moved on from it in less than 48 hours. 

YOU’RE GONNA MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE.  Yeah, that’s WFH singing the Cups song to me. Although we have not determined an actual date of our return onsite, this setup is ending soon. The time I spent at home not on vacation did a lot of good to me. I confirmed a lot of things about my plans in life and how I had been dealing with my anxieties and realities (mostly badly) while I was in the pre-pandemic grind. That’s the serious sentiment.  The non-serious but equally important realization is hell yeah this not seeing the outside world and still churning productivity and earning money is awesome AF. 

Pardon my sentiments as I know I still speak from a comfortable place of privilege. And really, the working part of this experience is still from a place of privilege because there are people whose anxiety stems from the fact that it’s been two months and they have not been summoned to work in any capacity which makes them doubt if they are still needed. 😦 Some even don’t have a job to go back to. These are really extraordinary horrible times and for someone who has a heavy burden on her back (my mother, bestfriends, and my boyfriend know this), I still am very lucky.  Lucky that I’m able to tell you my story at the very least.


To end, there’s two of my favorite fictional federal government workers. They inspire me in many ways. Up to you to figure out in what ways if you watched the show (and if you have not, I implore you, please do.)

Two months down, we don’t know how many more to go. 

So Far

It has been 29 days since I was outside the house for more than four hours.  Metro Manila will be on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until the 15th of May; an extension that frankly everyone knew was coming days before the announcement.  How are you guys holding up?

Someone told me I should be documenting this period in history since I always say I like to keep a journal.  Still have nothing to show for it, folks.  I got three weeks left so let’s see.  I am not proud that I have more open-ended personal projects than the strands of my hair but admitting it seems like a good way to not be too hard on myself.

IMG_2837It’s a good life overall.  The inconveniences, mostly about finances, is something I brought to myself.  The self-esteem issues are still looming and blooming so I ride it out. It deserves a longer confession but when I learned how to surrender to God, my problems didn’t magically disappear and in fact still exist but it’s not that stressful to me anymore.  I still experience “so now what” moments but I learned how to pull back and seek distractions.  I mean when people knew about what I’m going through, not a few told me I look very composed and put together for someone carrying the amount of shit that I have. Uhm, thanks, I guess? It’s my faith, thank you very much.

Adulthood brings changes that messes up your landscape. I have a habit of looking back at old social media posts and “Times were much simpler” is my common comment.  Some things did change; friendships, relationship dynamics, future plans.  I am affected by a few of them and my prayer, for example, to be a better friend sometimes isn’t cutting it close.  At the end of the day, it’s the people who pray for you and pray with you that you keep. The people who would be the default recipients of text messages when shit hits the fan again.  The ones who will get what you mean when you say something at the most random of times with no prior context.  These are the ones you keep, and with full realization that they have their own lives and own struggles, too.


One thing that keeps me steady is that I am in a relationship now. It has been a crazy (because of the distance!) and blissful 17 months. And yeah, it’s mutual now, not the one-sided kind of love I sustained for years. I think. LMAO

This is not the first time you will read about it and I’m part of the thousands of people who can definitively say it now: long-distance relationships are very hard. We’re lucky that we are at this point in time when it’s very easy to connect. But then again nothing really compensates for hugs, kisses, and hand-holding, for feeling and hearing that the one you love is beside you basically breathing, than being physically together.  I counted 24 days in total that we were able to be with each other.  While those days were really amazing, there’s still more days apart.

IMG_2836I have always prided myself as a romantic but I have to give credit to the jowa (one of the first few Tagalog terms I was able to teach him, no matter how ghetto LOL) for keeping what we have very manageable. “Don’t scare him with your drama,” a friend once said, but then, if I cannot be transparent and honest when something is sailing this good then it’s going to be a surprise months down the line.  I don’t want to drop it on him that way. I  have to know that I’d be accepted for my flaws, too.  My honesty still made him stay so I will take that as a win.  We certainly do not know what the future holds although it has been talked about in little amounts.  So as always, let the leaves fall where they may.  This pandemic alone is one big obstacle as we try moving things forward.  I’m just glad and my heart is full that there is that direction to look forward to.


Speaking of things to look forward to, there’s three more weeks of working from home.  I am very vocal about how I’m liking this scheme and that WFH could be a good fit for the long haul.  When you take away something you do or get on a regular basis, and as of now it has been a month, you can more or less identify if it’s something you can do without…or the opposite.  It’s not even that I have bouts of wanting to leave anyway, pandemic or no pandemic; if I get more work-supportive tools (faster internet plan, a real “work” space, standing desk, to name a few) I can say with certainty that earning my keep by working remotely/from home could be my new thing.  But one day at a time! As I learned from various successes and missteps, timing is everything and when it’s forced to happen, it just leads to disappointment.

Right now let this exercise in futility writing again (for the nth nth nth time) be a good outlet. You don’t really lose the passion; it just sleeps.  Sometimes it takes longer than expected.  Platforms have shifted and blogging like this could be a thing of the past.  But hey, whatever works.  This new normal and the positive reinforcement of people who love me give me reasons to plod on daily.  Despite my personal challenges I still speak my truth from a position of privilege and for that I should be more thankful, ‘di ba?  And I really am.  Because life is still good.  So far.

Starting Over Again

My relationship with working out has restarted more times than I have attempted to be in a real relationship.

img_4046I do not remember lasting more than six months in a routine. My working out mostly had a lot to do with an imminent physical activity that I had to participate in. I remember the times we used to join fun runs with co-workers. It was a novelty that ran its natural course. I once signed up for a marathon but midway through, had to give it up. I tried going back a few more times, one of which was because of a crush who was a gym staple, but when the crush faded, I faded out of the fitness room, too.

Last week, as the story of my numerous restarts, I began my slow return to the gym. My only consolation is it didn’t take me long enough to get used to not seeing silver stars after floor workouts. I started slow with walking on the treadmill for 20-25 minutes (thanks heavens for offline Lucifer episodes) then a set each of very basic workout from Nike Training Club. I am biased towards belly and glutes workouts though.

It’s only been a week or so, and I didn’t do it daily, so it might be premature to seriously ask why I haven’t shed more sweat and I have not been as energized. I know it’s because of the very gentle intensity of what I do but I miss the rosy cheeks and the sweaty pits and chest and backsides at the end of each short routine.

I also have The Y as my accountability partner of sorts. He cheers me on from 8,500 miles away, no matter how miniscule the effort I put in. Before we went on vacation in May, he had been egging me to workout. It’s crazy realizing it’s not for a killer body, although if it’s an effect of exercising who am I to complain, but endurance and overall, uhm, elasticity?

I was called short legs and a slowpoke. It’s not a direct connection to loving walking as an activity, now I realized. And with the 10-minute walk from my stop to the office, when I increase my speed, I can really feel the effect of my lack of physical activities. I can say the same when going up the stairs to the office cafeteria a mere one floor up. There is also the comedic element of cramping your calves and thunder thighs when doing sex maneuvers. These incidents are what tells me yup, I really should have done some workout of sorts.

Right now, the plan is to continue doing it, to normalize it, since the facility is less than 100 steps from my desk and it’s free. And oh, of course, to be fit!

My Tabo

With the Muji water dipper ad coming out along with the memes and clapbacks, I remembered the yellow tabo I used in Maui last month.  The first thing I looked for when I inspected the bathroom of the rented condo was a bidet.  There wasn’t one. There were plenty of drinking glasses which were always a default choice but they’re small and the odds were high I’d break one knowing my clumsiness.

I thought of buying a pint of ice cream until I rummaged through the kitchen and found it — there in it’s canary yellow glory: a full-size measuring cup (kinda this but yellow).  No need for ice cream.

I had to explain to The Y what’s it for.  He must have tried it once for he said it felt weird using it.  That it’s easier to just head to the shower should you need to wash yourself.  To native tabo users, that sounded more inconvenient.  We are just used to washing when needed.

I once read somewhere that any Pinoy traveler who says he or she has never used anything that can pass for a tabo when abroad is a liar.  I believe it; wiping doesn’t come as naturally for us.  For all the makeshift tabo efforts, the yellow measuring cup was an amazing provision.  To the condo host, don’t worry, I washed and disinfected it well before I put it back.

Airport Runs

Despite the convenience of online check-ins, I still make it a point to be at the airport early for my flights.  Even when I wasn’t completely ready for my vacation to end, we got to Kahului Airport in Maui early enough for a short inter-island flight to Honolulu.  These flights arrive in a smaller Terminal 1 and since this short leg was a totally separate flight from my flight to Manila, I needed to wait for my luggage and check in again at the bigger Terminal 2.  There were a few people in my Maui flight who did the same.

When we exited the small terminal, there’s a choice to wait for an airport shuttle or just walk.  It’s an easy walk, the airport attendant said.  Armed with our luggage and carryons, five of us decided to walk instead of waiting for the shuttle.  How far could it be?

img_2990It wasn’t far but, hey, it was very humid.  I didn’t remember the walk being this far, I said to myself, referring to my experience a week ago.  Then it dawned on me that I came then from the Arrivals area which was definitely closer to Terminal 1.  And not only the Departures gates were farther, United gates were situated at the very last part of the departures area.  What luck.  We were walking from gate to gate, not ready to admit that ooops, we could have waited for the shuttle right?  It really felt like a long walk and for some strange reason we were rushing; I didn’t know their flight time but I definitely wasn’t late.

When we got to the check in gate, that’s when we smiled at each other and commented on the length of that walk. It was a good workout of sorts.  No one also said anything about why we didn’t enter the first check-in gate and just walked inside the airport for a cooler, more leisurely walk.

The connecting flight to Guam left 50 minutes late.  I already napped and watched the latest episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj and we still weren’t moving.  The announcement kept repeating how our safety was their first priority and they haven’t gotten the final clearance to take off.  When we were finally taxiing, I checked and confirmed I was seated behind an exit row.  A middle-aged couple were occupying the seats.  They certainly looked like they can open the door and pave the way for evacuation.  Unless the plane explodes mid-air.  You take your chances every damn day.

When we got to Guam, my connecting flight to Manila only had five minutes left for boarding.  The plane I was on was a Boeing 777 with more or less 360 passengers so going out from the economy seats took forever (I meant longer).  I asked a flight crew if the ground crew was advised that we’re arriving late.  She checked a paper and told me there were around 60 of us connecting to Manila so they will wait for us for sure.

Even with this assurance, I still sprinted the hell out of there.  See, Guam’s airport is small.  And I only ran from Gate 8 to Gate 14.  It wasn’t long but given my poor fitness level, it felt like running from a fast zombie out to kill me.  Walkators were of little help.  I kept hearing names from my flight including mine advising us that the plane was ready to depart.  I arrived at the boarding gate panting, dizzy even.  I got to my seat, disoriented.  I was still catching my breath when someone asked me if I was at the correct seat.  I wasn’t.  I moved to the correct one and settled in.

We got to Manila 30 minutes later than scheduled.  When people started unbuckling their seatbelts and getting bags in overhead bins, I remained in my seat.  I was still tired.  I was home.  There’s no need to hurry this time.


My Shopping Time is Your Me Time

You would think I will adjust my shopping habits when on vacation but turns out it’s hard. Not really about spending though; lately I learned the value of putting things on my cart and making an elimination process before falling in line to pay. It’s mostly about the length of time spent when I go shopping. The Y had a taste of it on our second to the last day in Maui and it was a tough lesson learned.

img_3040 I saw one of my favorite shops in the world (hahaha), Ross, on our second day on the island. I asked – more like told – The Y that he should drive me there before the vacation ends for my bargain shopping fix. Sneer all you like but Ross has great finds for great prices, and most of all they have sizes for people like me. And boy, their sizes 10-14 racks are plentiful to say the least.

When we got to Ross in Piilani Village I started trying to send him away because I knew he’d be bored. He insisted to come, so okay, go with me, boo! Five minutes into it, I saw him sitting by the shoes section. About 15 minutes later, I went to him again, and he looked really bored. I haven’t even covered ¼ of the small shop by then. I appreciated the desire to try but good call bringing the first volume of Umbrella Academy so he had something to spend time with. I successfully convinced him to go outside or wherever he wanted to go. I heard him talk about getting a Jamba Juice because it was super warm that day, so I knew he’d be there.

I went ahead with my sloth-like shopping pace. After deliberation and many exchange rate conversions in my head, I was done shopping for the day. I was in line at the cashier when I got a text message. “So…you done?” It had been an hour and 45 minutes. I saw him reading the comic book, and when he saw me he had his I CANNOT BELIEVE IT TOOK YOU THAT LONG face. It was funny and heartwarming and a little guilt-inducing at the same time.

“It’s not even that big!” Yes, it wasn’t. It’s barely a third the size of regular Ross shops. Think of the meme of the Math lady, and that’s how his face looked. I was cackling the whole time. “Be thankful there isn’t a bookstore beside it,” I said. And a Sephora, I forgot to add. That’s basically what happened to me in Honolulu when I was in Ala Moana Center but it worked for me because I was alone. The truth was I was just biting my tongue when I thought of sending him back to the condo to nap or whatever, and just pick me up when I was done. I didn’t want him to feel I didn’t want him tagging along. You can only send people away too many times! Turned out he was thinking of the same exact thing. “Now I know,” he said. It’s true. When I shop, it’s a good time to get your me time.

Coffee Nut M&Ms Exist, You Guys

Coffee Nut M&Ms exist and it is my favorite flavor as of late.

The Y and I were doing our grocery run in Target when I checked the chocolates aisle and didn’t find my favorite variant. He won’t believe it exists. I insisted harder. A Target staff heard me and commented, “That’s a good one.” See? I motioned to The Y.

A few steps later Target guy went back and offered to find if they have it on stock. Type type type on his console thingy. Nope, there wasn’t any.

“You can call M&M and ask to make them. I overheard you guys and thought that sounds really good.”

It turned out he wasn’t convinced either and just had to look it up. Hmm, does it not exist? What was I hoarding and eating a lot of all along?

We swung by the nearby Walmart for more items and ha, there it was, found it, a medium bag of coffee nut M&Ms!!!

I felt so vindicated! But argh there’s no one to be smug with! The Y had his, “Hmm, wow so it does exist. Buy it then” unimpressed face. My victory face was spoiled.

Anyway, the contents of this bag kept me company for the whole week. I even brought some home. Give it a try when you can. Back home they have it in Rustan’s and Shopwise and lots of them at the PX goods section at the mezzanine of Cash & Carry.

Nalu’s and the Lucky Charm Chicken Poop

As I expected, I woke up late on my first day in Maui. Take it as if it’s the weekend where I begin my day past 9 am, I told myself.

The Y and I were starving so we did what many people do to decide where to go and get food — check other people’s opinions on the internet.

After back and forths and deliberations (we took the task very seriously), we agreed to hit Nalu’s which was a short drive from the condo we rented for the week.

Nalu’s was a good choice for brunch. Filling and tasty. Their Portuguese sausage was so good without the nauseating feeling which I normally get when stuffing pork in my mouth.

The restaurant’s in a commercial center but chickens were freely roaming the parking lot . A Nalu’s staff, armed with a bottle sprayer, chased them away which I thought was harsh. Later we learned why they did it — because the chickens walk inside the restaurant, people feed them, and often they poop on the floor, and awful for you unsuspecting diner or waitstaff who’d step on it and drag it mercilessly across the restaurant floor.

The pseudo-superstitious in me liked knowing the presence of poop. It symbolizes good luck. And it was my first full day on the island and I took that as further confirmation that it’s gonna be an amazing week.

Here We Go Again, Hawaii

img_2992Last February, I decided to book a flight to Hawaii. Oahu was fab and fun in 2018 but it’s interesting to try another island, yes? It was not a solo trip so with the other person’s concurrence, Maui it is. Let us talk about that other person later.

I like taking red-eye flights because I can make the most out of vacation days by doing it. With bags packed, I trooped to the airport on a busy Friday night armed with anxiety, excitement, and that tiny nagging fear that I left something that could blow up in my face again. Or maybe it’s still the anxiety of, as the title goes, here we go again, Hawaii.

The best flight time and cost I found was United Airlines with a short stopover in Guam. If you know me enough then you know that notwithstanding that island’s beauty, its mere mention will be a punchline directed at me because, well, reasons.

The first leg of the trip was uneventful, and stepping foot in Antonio Won Pat Airport made me smile, remembering how one can get crazy until you get over it.

The seven-hour flight to Honolulu was the same. Well, save for my ticket having meals for purchase. I had crackers and coco mango bars with me but I was convinced to buy a chorizo burger (I am tempted to use quote marks) which was blah and bland. I should have just asked for more of the maple cookies they handed out for free. That one tasted so so soooo good.

Upon arrival in Honolulu, I checked out my bag, and it was a short walk to Terminal 1 for my last short inter-island flight to Maui. Almost there! my mind and heart said, but my feet said change your footwear, please! so thank heavens for luxury of time, I got to do it and more.

I arrived in Maui a little before 10pm, was picked up to enjoy a quick dinner at Zippy’s, one of very few establishments still open at that time.

The other person was the one who picked me up. In between bites of my rice and meat (closest to a silog, sure) the anxiety wore off.  I knew it’s gonna be a great week. Let’s call that other person The Y. But let’s not tell him that yet.

Here we go again, Hawaii. Let’s make it a better one.

Truth Thursday: The SF Commuter Experience

truth thursdayTruth Thursday is a weekly feature here in my blog that talks about something that happened to me in the past or very recently that I would have otherwise kept but decided to share to you without hesitation and regrets (whaaaat).  Happy reading!

In the tradition of keeping up with my shenanigans, I was reminded by a recent conversation about my commuter experience three years ago in San Francisco.

Shortly after arriving in San Francisco, my bff and I took a bus to downtown SF to eat and meet with my niece. It’s not that I didn’t know about it, that you’re supposed to pay as soon as you get in, but since the bus was moving already, I decided to sit down and figured I’ll pay when we’re about to alight. Plus I had an experience a good two years prior but in Washington DC where people paid when they’re about to get off at their stop so I assumed it’s the same.

Assumption almost got me a ticket.

A couple of stops later, a police was in the bus and specifically asked us if we already paid. I said I haven’t and showed him two dollar bills I was clutching in my hand the whole time. He then lectured me about not paying bus fares, asked if I drive, and asked about my purpose why I was in the States. At one point he asked for my passport. I was honestly half-scared and half-embarrassed and kept thinking, This is such a hilariously horrible way to have a hit in the system. Not paying the bus fare. This is gonna show up when I apply for entry the next time and when I renew my visa. When he learned we were tourists, I began to apologize about assuming I can pay anytime during the ride. After a few minutes, he said something in Tagalog, gave me my passport back, and began telling us about his family in Manila. When we reached the stop I profusely said thank you and said sorry to the driver while I was putting the money in the machine.

We had a good laugh when we were walking to the mall. My bestfriend was silent the whole time and said she was nervous already. I knew it’s something very minor but even then I couldn’t help but shake my head at how something so little can give me the biggest of panic attacks. The next few days during that trip I made sure we didn’t ride the bus anymore.

The One with the Guy I Met on Tinder a Year Ago

This is neither a romance nor an original story.

Despite saying I will stay away from dating apps and dating sites (“with finality”, ugh), I revived some accounts and met men thru there – the most interesting of which was the biggest meltdown of 2018, but that’s not what this story is about.

A year ago, I thought that in order to move on from someone, it could help meeting other men so I did a swiping spree. This guy and I, we matched because I had not changed my location from my island vacation and he set it on the same island because he’d be assigned there in a few months. It’s an easy one to ignore if you’re into someone in the same location. We kept talking because it turned out we needed a person patient enough to listen to our attempts justifying what we feel.

Not to say we didn’t try seeing if we will click in a romantic sense; we did try but I guess we both reeked of, “I am not over someone” even when we’re in opposite sides of the world.

On my end, he was a welcome respite because God knows I have exhausted my bestfriends’ patience. He somehow understood me in the aspect of holding on despite not fully getting the one you want, even just a sliver of time, which I thought then was acceptable (hell it wasn’t and I have a different story to tell proving to myself it doesn’t, ffs). His story was more intense, complicated, and at times, toxic. But even then I saw how he’s not giving up chasing and wanting her but not in a creepy, forcible way – I had urges to tell him he’s a different kind of lovestruck stupid because there wasn’t any force on his end to begin with. He was always on the waiting end, he was always the understanding one, always putting rational explanations as to why they are good for each in many sense of the word (some examples of which are TMI but trust me on this) but why can’t they be together? When we started talking it had been Groundhog Day for them, and yet he’s still there. And it’s not as if he was given a no. He wasn’t. He still chased because he was given hope, and I read lengthy emails and messages to prove this. I know the setup can be off-putting but you know what, sometimes, talking to a stranger could help you more. It’s always a risk but blame my naivete, I also believe in people coming into your life for a reason.

I was flattered by the level of confidence he had in me. It could be because he saw through me – that I certainly don’t judge at all and that I know how it felt to wait, to painfully crawl your way in just for that little space of affection. Without saying anything more, his was the story to root for in terms of wanting to see a good future.

There was a very big development on his end by the end of the year. His assignment went on schedule and his personal life was like pieces putting themselves together. He finally got his wish: to have the woman agree to be with him. Moreover, she moved out of state and stayed with him on the island. I am so happy for him.

At one point he told me the woman knew about me. He wanted to come clean to her so my name came up as one of those he talked to while they’re not officially back together. Photos were sent and I was informally introduced to her. I assured her that her guy has been a supportive friend and I’m very happy for them. She’s okay. I even got an invite to travel back to the island and stay with them. We’re good.

Then just last week, he sent me this.

img_1980What a lovely couple they make! I keep thinking how much it took for both of them to get there. I was privy to the struggle almost at the end of the saga, and I am happy I can share this resolution.

Ever since I started talking to him I realized the universe was showing me what I deserve. He was not another “wrong” person or a rebound guy to mess with. Through him I saw that there are men who can and who will; that they exist, darnit. It took me months to finally figure it out. And once I did, I knew how to make sense of things.

We met while we were both hurting. A year later, we are both happy, although unlike him, I did not end up with whom I (thought I) wanted to be with – I forgot about about him instead.

See, good things do begin on Tinder.

Two Weeks

It’s been two weeks and nothing significant has happened;
In a way, I see it as slow,
Then I realized it is because I subscribed to the validity of an experience
By how fast it is unfolding.

On the other hand, each day a part of me is getting afraid
That something this good will lose its steam
So please, let us not get all excited and worked up.

Two weeks.
When I look at it as a slow progression, a daily ping-pong of
Good mornings, good nights, and
A hearty debate on comics universes and pop culture references,
I just think, and I consider it hard
That the last one started, escalated, then fizzled in just two weeks.
So, this one is different, and perhaps good. Better.

Then when I think how it’s starting to get too good
I  calm down and step back.
I engage very consistently but shield more of me.
That is possible.

Because frankly, sometimes I still associate a face
And that this, all of this, is the engagement I have long wanted to get
Now I am getting it, and more.
But the only thing is
It’s a different face.

Two weeks.
In a few days it will be three. Then it will be a month.
Then two. Hopefully three and more.
I always say ride it out, don’t fight it.
It applies not just to things I wanted to get over with.
It applies to experiences where I have to give opportunities
For its legs to develop and its roots to grow.

It’s been two weeks.


This year, 2018, has been all kinds of interesting, eventful, hurtful, shocking, and surprising to me. In many aspects of my life, not just in one. Major shakeups and new feelings I didn’t know I can possibly feel. I don’t want to say I cannot wait for the year to be over. I want to claim this year will end on a much better note, full of redemption and new chances and open doors. Whew. Kumakapit pa ako. Andito pa. Check on your strong, funny, noisy friends when you get a chance. Baka kailangan nila ng crutch or kahit estribo lang na pwedeng hawakan in the meantime. 😦

The Big Holiday Catch Up

It’s that time of the year when we find ourselves cramping our schedule with get-togethers. In a way I view it as a blessing having friends from different sets of interests and from different times in my life. The bonds forged is still there and in some groups, new people were added to the mix to nourish the relationship. It is funny that we have 11 months in one year to do this yet we all find the necessity and push to finally do it when December comes. It doesn’t matter that it’s a hectic month to begin with – less workdays therefore more work to squeeze within business days, horrendous holiday traffic jam, gift-shopping – yet we still do it on an annual basis: furiously find common dates and mutually convenient locations to finally hangout even just for a short time. I wonder if friends ever said to each other, “Next year, let us not do it this way! Let us plan way ahead!” and actually went with that plan. Maybe it did happen to others but certainly not in my groups. I still love all of them so I really don’t mind at all. Regardless if my sleep has shortened to less than six hours a night which the mid-thirties in me really struggles with already.

img_9634One other thing I noticed is how delayed Christmas gift shopping for friends and godchildren was, not just with me but with many of my close friends. Is it the schedule? Finances? Both? Much like shopping for back to school supplies, we cannot entirely presume that people do last –minute shopping because they don’t plan well or they like to procrastinate. Sometimes – or in this economy, most times – it could be because the capacity to buy comes around the same time as well. As Miss Universe said, teach yourself the silver lining in this situation; the desire to give is still alive!

However, we really cannot discount the convenience of planning for it months ahead. I know someone who takes advantage of mall sales to buy gifts in toy stores, way before December. A toy or two, and before you know it, you have your godchildren covered, gifts-wise. It may also help to do the same when you travel. Last year we went to Guam for a long weekend and found great items at reasonable prices in Macy’s and GPO mostly for kids aka godchildren and young nieces and nephews. That was November; so by the time December came we only had to buy for a few adult friends. So yeah, planning and timing are key.

When you find yourself minding the same kind of “happy dilemma”, that is good! Sharing your presence and your affection through gifts are sufficient manifestations of generosity. You may not be able to meet everyone or give everyone gifts because you have limitations (and frankly you really do not have to) but when you are in the midst of this December holiday craziness, then perhaps that is good enough. Happy holidays, everyone!

Nice to Meat You: Adobo Sunrise, Stir-Fried Beef and Charsiew

I love meat. Fried, grilled (charred even), steamed, wrapped in pretentious edible paper, drowned in sour soup…you name it. I lean towards pork than beef most of the time. When presented with a choice, I’m getting both though.

This year I came across these dishes and I found myself coming back to them when cravings hit.

First is Early Bird Breakfast Club‘s Adobo Sunrise (P295). I’m glad it’s not called adobo flakes because when I see it I expect crunchy and flaky then when served, it’s not only not dry but chewy…it’s disappointing. This Adobo Sunrise dish has shreds of very tasty pork adobo. I like my adobo sour so this one endeared itself to me immediately. If you don’t like sour adobo, then this may not be for you. It’s one cup of meat with runny sunny side up egg and a generous serving of garlic rice. I was overwhelmed when I saw the amount of rice the first time I ordered it but by the end of the meal, they disappeared with the adobo anyway. This is always my go-to order when I visit Early Bird.

Adobo Sunrise!

with better color!

Next is Lugang Cafe‘s Stir-Fried Beef with Chili Peppers (P320). My bestfried and I first tried it November of last year when Lugang opened in Rob Place Manila, and it has been a staple each time we visited. The contrast of the taste — salty, spicy, sweet — and the tenderness of the beef strips make me crave for rice. My only beef though (hahaha) is that the serving size is too small. That small pot right there is shallow. It’s the cheapskate in me, I guess. Plus I think beef is generally pricier?


This next dish I only tried once but I didn’t forget it. I visited the new Podium and found their food hall The Corner Market to eat with my book club. I was looking for an ulam to pair with my organic rice (yeahhh) and found Char Express. This char siew is so good for its price tag (P138)! The meat was soft and so was the fat. The sweet glaze was just amazing. I’d gladly move closer to the Podium to have this more regularly.


Browsing my phone for more meaty goodness. Will share some more later.

For now, nice to meat you all. (Pinipilit talaga. LOL)

Wakey Wakey Pancakey: Peanut Butter Banana and Ricotta Cheese Pancakes!

I am one of those who eat pancakes not just for breakfast so I consider it a treat each time I go to a place that serves all-day breakfast in the menu. Of the ones I tried this year, these two are the standouts:

I first tried The Kismet Cafe and Wellness Market‘s peanut butter banana pancakes last Holy Week and I instantly liked it. This small vegan restaurant in Kalayaan Avenue in Poblacion may have limited offerings in the menu but the serving size and taste definitely do not disappoint. 

This stack of pancake (P195) was so filling that it took me a long time to finish them. There’s generous peanut butter in between. I didn’t know much about vegan butter which was slathered generously on top but it made a difference, too. The syrup wasn’t too chokingly sweet. It paired well with their brewed coffee. 

The Kismet Cafe and Wellness Market is located at the ground floor of MBA Building, 5022 P. Burgos Street Corner Kalayaan Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City. They are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday to Sunday. 


This stack of ricotta cheese pancakes (P420) from Little Flour blew me away when I tasted it, and my only regret that time was that it wasn’t my order. It’s very fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth great; the berry compote and mango bits on top added to the flair. I have always been partial to anything with cheese and this one really delivered.

Little Flour is Wildflour Cafe + Bakery‘s kinda little sibling in BGC and I assume this pancake is also available in Wildflour locations. 

Little Flour is located at the ground floor of World Plaza Building, 4th Avenue corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City. They are open from 6 a.m. to around 2 a.m. They serve all-day breakfast!

Do you like pancakes, too? What pancakes could you recommend?


The man I currently like so much just told me I am the most neurotic person he has ever known. It may have been in jest, I don’t know. We were in the middle of what I consider a light and chill conversation so I didn’t think he meant it in a pejorative manner. I should be offended, and I was, but only for a bit. I took it to mean I was overanxious and oversensitive (he also told me this, remember?). If he meant it differently than that, I really don’t care because really, what can I do? Disagree and throw back something equally offensive? Fifteen years ago I may have fired back immediately. But nah.

It is hard enough to encapsulate the feelings I contend with on a daily basis, so I refrain (sometimes, unsuccessfully) from reacting defensively whenever words like that get thrown in my face. Sometimes when I have processed it fully, a part of me questions the level of self-respect I have. Do I really just allow people to trample me like that? I mean not just in the instance above; there were incidents in the past where friends have nudged me to stand up for myself and have the dignity to say something or walk away. To be honest, unless it’s blatantly a gross violation, I can be dense and…meh. I just hope it really isn’t reflective of how much I value myself as a person. I would like to think I value myself highly, sometimes a lot that I have this innate ability to make everything about me (one of my guy bestfriends can attest to this!), but it may be healthy to reevaluate this stance once in a while.