31 May 2011


Right after my weight loss entry comes a cake entry. Oh no.

I know we can't have our cakes and eat them too, literally and figuratively, but we couldn't help it. After having lunch at our favorite Uno restaurant (we had puree of green pea soup; flame broiled pork tenderloin medallion with lima and feta dressing; freshly-baked bread and iced tea), we took home three boxes of cakes -- two cheesecakes; one chocolate cake. Two boxes were shared with office friends, to celebrate hubby's "Miracle Birthday!" The other one was all ours. *wide grin*

Not one. Not two.
But three boxes of Uno cakes to go!

The best cheesecake in town!
Let it melt in your mouth.

Uno's Fallen cake.
Second to Cafe Bola's chocolate flourless cake.

What's your favorite cake?

30 May 2011


Written by my hubby J as a Facebook note
Posted on March 28, 2011

I was at my fattest at 190 lbs. I had beer belly. And I was up by two sizes.

But in five months, I lost 25 lbs., 4 inches on my waist, and scaled down from an XL to an M.

So how did I do it? There are no short cuts to weight loss. There are no secret diets. There are no wonder drugs. It's just good old "right diet and proper exercise."

Here's a simple list, My Five Top Fives. This worked for me. It may not necessarily work for you.

My Top 5 Weightloss Workouts
  1. Walking – The first step to getting active. It takes 10,000 steps a day to begin losing weight. This is how I started to get back into shape, walking with my dorky Sketchers Shape Ups while malling.
  2. Running – Aside from continuing to strengthen my aerobic capacity, I had to build my mileage base. So I hit the treadmill every morning for 30 minutes. Then slowly increased my mileage, from about 2K, to 5K, to 10K. Then I joined road races. Every race motivated me to improve my personal record. My first 5K run was in October of 2010. I clocked in at a slow 40 minutes. But my PR improved by 3 minutes in my next 5K run the following month. Now, I can comfortably run 5K in about 30 minutes. That's still slow compared to my 20 minute-5K pace in the '90s. Last month, I joined a 10K run and clocked in a decent 67”.
  3. Boxing – This is a knockout workout. The intensity and interval training you get from boxing is just incredible. The usual routine at Elorde's goes something like this: 4-6 rounds, mitts; 2 rounds, speed ball; 2 rounds, swing ball; 2 rounds, heavy bag; 2 rounds, jump rope. Each round is 3 minutes long, with 1 minute rest periods between rounds.
  4. Weight Training – While walking, jogging, running, and boxing, are all primarily aerobic workouts, weight training is, what else, but anaerobic. Now that I've built a good cardio base, I needed to strengthen my muscles. Cutting weight with aerobic exercises only, coupled with a weight-loss diet, may lead to some muscle loss. So I hit the gym to lift weights, at least once-a-week, or as much as three times a week.
  5. MMA Conditioning Exercises – Not only did I want to get back into shape, I wanted to get back into fighting form. And the obvious inspirations are the modern gladiators in the octagon. The MMA exercises that I do are basically a combination of body weight exercises, plyometrics, kettlebell exercises, and medicine ball exercises. I always try to sneak in a few sets during my boxing workouts, or after a 5K run, or within my gym program.
My Top 5 Diet Dos and Don'ts
  1. Don't eat fake food. No to fast food, processed food, and canned goods. Go natural, go organic, go whole!
  2. Don't eat bad food. No to fatty, oily, saucy food. Go lean, go clean, go clear!
  3. Don't eat too much. Or don't bite more than you can chew. No to overeating. Go ration!
  4. Don't eat too little. No to starvation diets. Go balanced!
  5. Don't eat too fast. No to eating on the go. Go chew!
My Top 5 Weightloss Food
  1. White meat – such as chicken breast and fish have fewer calories than its red meat counterpart, and less caloric intake is one of the first steps to weight loss.
  2. Eggs – are protein rich and pack only 85 calories.
  3. Ampalaya – lowers sugar and blood pressure levels
  4. Brown Rice – is a healthy fiber with medically proven weight loss benefits.
  5. Pepper – Whether it's red hot chili peppers or black pepper corns or bell peppers, it not only spices up food, it also has a thermogenic effect. Simply put, it just means it heats up your metabolism.
My Top 5 Weightloss Drinks
  1. Water – Drinking half a liter of water before meals has been proven to accelerate weight loss.
  2. Flavored Water with L-Carnitine – provides a sweet spin in the flat taste of water. On the other hand, L-Carnitine helps break down calories, and prevents fat build-up in the heart and liver.
  3. Alkaline Water – not only restores the acid balance in the body, but also cleanses the major organs, particularly the colon.
  4. Fresh Buko Juice – is also an alkalizing agent that aids digestion.
  5. Pineapple Juice – contains the enzyme bromelain, which helps in the digestion of protein.
My Top 5 Weightloss Accessories
  1. Sketchers Shape Ups
  2. iPod Nano
  3. Silva Stopwatch and Interval Timer
  4. Nordic Track Weighted Jump Ropes
  5. Nordic Track Sauna Suit

Why am I posting hubby's note? Because over the summer, all throughout April and May, we turned the 'vacation mode' on. Whatever we lost from October to March, I'm afraid we've gained back. Uh-oh. Well, summer's over. WE MUST GET BACK TO THE PROGRAM. Yes, I say "we." It helps *me* that we do it together. He's disciplined enough to do it on his own, can't say the same for me, hehe.

My Top 5 Benefits of having a Workout / Weight Loss Buddy
  1. Motivation
  2. Safety
  3. Stronger bond
  4. Healthy competition
  5. Greater chances of making it a habit

28 May 2011


For any one who believes in miracles, or needs to read about one today, click here.

Seven years ago, two months after our wedding, I almost lost J to a freak accident.

The doctors gave me only three scenarios, based on the extent of his injuries:
1) He may go blind
2) He may turn into a vegetable
3) He may die


Above: our wedding rings

I remember turning numb.

My silent prayer, "If you're taking him, kunin mo na rin ako, please."
Memories of May 28, 2004 still make me cringe. I'm not sure if I can write about the details. So I won't.

Here's what I want to share instead...I praise God for His miracles! After the 10-hour operation, we didn't have to face any of the three worst-case scenarios laid out to me. Even the doctors were in awe! J was a miracle case!

J can see clearly, he has not lost any of his brain functions and motor skills, he's full of life. HE'S ALIVE!

The worst that happened: his scars from the ala-Face Off operation and his intensified migraines.

Seven years ago, today, I cried my heart out. I experienced crying hanggang wala na akong luha. I'm crying again now. But this time they are tears of joy.

Thank you, J, for choosing to live. He was such a fighter all throughout the ordeal. Even under tremendous pain, he was one happy patient. He made me, all his nurses, doctors and visitors laugh. He was never demanding. All he asked from me were hugs. Ikaw talaga ang idol ko pag dating sa strength.
Thank you to our family and friends, even to strangers, who prayed for us, visited, wished us well. We wouldn't have made it through without your help.

Thank you to his brilliant doctors and caring nurses from St. Luke's. You're God's miracle workers.

Thank you, God, for your miracles! Thank you for reminding me that you won't give us a load we cannot carry. Thank you for loving us as much as you do. Kaya siguro mahal na mahal namin ang isa't-isa. Dahil mahal na mahal mo kami. Your love's overflowing. We'll gladly continue to spread that love.

I can choose to hate May 28 forever. But with the depth of experiences it has brought me, us, I'm celebrating it! We're celebrating it!

Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.-- Grace Hansen

It's a story I won't get tired of re-telling.


May, June and July = Hollywood Summer Blockbusters Season! We're doubly excited this year because we'll get to watch the movies, in theaters, for free! Guess how. *wink* Such a simple blessing that's bringing us great joy.

We've seen the following titles for free (Thank you, Free Films Fairy Godmother!) --

On Thor:
I was pleasantly surprised.
Thought it'd be too masculine for me.
I actually enjoyed the adventure.
Something big is coming up.

On Stranger Tides:
Still entertaining.
It's still all about Jack Sparrow's antics.
Penelope Cruz's character is a welcome addition
to the franchise.

On Kung Fu Panda 2:
It was a visual feast.
The storyline's so much darker, richer,
but still apt for children.
Loads of action, humor and life lessons.
Made me cry -- thrice.
If you're close to me you'll know why.

Looking forward to more free movie dates! X-Men, Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Cars 2, Captain America...

27 May 2011


Overheard over last night's salad and pizza dinner date at Trattoria Gourmet --

Table next to ours.

Brother mocking his sister:
"Ano sa tingin mo mangyayari sa voice lessons mo?
Magiging Lea Salonga ka?"

More negativity from the brother:
"Wish ko magka-Dislike button sa Facebook!"


The world really is filled with Negatrons (Hubby coined this term to refer to people filled with so much negativity). The saddest part - some start out so young. Yikes. I pray the poor girl is strong enough to just let her brother's negativity slide. Thank God I've learned to stay away from people who weigh me down. I say weed them out of your lives!

I'm sending these quotes to that little boy's way...

If you realized how powerful your thoughts are,
you would never think a negative thought.
-- PP

Positive things happen to positive people.
-- SB

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
-- GB

Nurture your mind with great thoughts;
to believe in the heroic makes heroes.
-- BD

15 May 2011


This Weekend's Gifts:

1) Blogger's back.

2) Hubby and I teamed-up for my Mom's surprise birthday AVP (audio-visual presentation). My parents, especially the birthday celebrant, loved it! She was so touched. It got a lot of "likes". Yey!

3) Excited for our next team project: Father's Day. This would be more challenging because my Dad hates being photographed, hehe.

4) After Sunday church service, hubby and I went to the Farmer's Market to buy padala for my family abroad. Successfully found all their bilin.

5) Cafe Bola, we missed you! Glad to be reunited for brunch today. You still have the best flourless chocolate cake!

6) Well-deserved back massages for us. Bliss!

7) Free movie! Thor. (Thanks, GRS.)

8) Back-to-back with 'Something Borrowed.' We haven't done two movies in a row for quite some time so this was fun.

9) Friday the 13th = 13th month pay. What bad luck?

10) Reunion with my Knoller friends on Saturday. It was fab seeing them again!

My fab Maryknoll aka Miriam
grade school & high school classmates

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

"The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate." -- Oprah

10 May 2011


Today's Gifts:

1) Our photographer volunteered to do a video shoot for the show's opening title (instead of our original stills concept), no extra charge. That's why we love working with him. And we're happy with the quality of the output.

2) Free hair and make-up for me. Yey!

3) Volunteer talents. We know so many generous people.

4) Hubby taught a child how to play chess today. He likes doing that.

5) We love coming home to our super comfortable bed, especially after a long day at work.

Ah, life's simple joys!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

(I choose to rejoice over life's simple joys especially after the heartbreaking decision of the Sandigan Bayan on the Plea Bargaining Agreement.)

09 May 2011


Today's Gifts:

1) My new office cubicle comes with a view. Yey!

2) Hubby and I are office cube neighbors again. Yey! The last time we were cube neighbors we were still boyfriend-girlfriend, I think.

3) Super fun Skype session with my Mom!

4) Dinner date with long-time friends (my UP-CMC friends). Every one made time for this meet. I'm so touched.

5) Got a very interesting, absolutely unexpected phone call. Smiling from ear to ear.

6) Shared a huge pizza with my new office neighbors. "House-warming", hehe.

7) My former office cube neighbors sent me green mangoes and bagoong. They miss me na raw. Awww, sweet.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

We all have our storms (Incidentally, Typhoon Bebeng is currently in the Philippines.) but we can always choose to dance in the rain.

Hope your week started out perfectly too. *wink*

Happy Monday!

08 May 2011


Chinatown bits from our recent SG trip. We've been here a couple of times, always promising ourselves we'll be back for more.

Above: The red lanterns of Chinatown.

Above: Sri Miriamman Temple

Yes, the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore
is found in Chinatown.
Isn't it ironic?

Above: Chinatown Must --
authentic reflexology experience!

Loved our 45-min foot reflexology,
SGD16 (around Php528) each.
Perfect after those long walks.

Lunch at Tak Po restaurant
42 Smith Street, Chinatown

Above: Pork with black pepper clay pot,
SGD5 (around 165), good for two.
Had this with Yang Chow fried rice.

Above: Siew Mai,
SGD 2.8 for four pieces
(around Php92.40).

Above: Egg Tarts for dessert
SGD .90 each (around Php30 each)

Above: One of Chinatown's stars,
the sausage kiosk, Wuerstelstand.

Above: We highly recommend the currywurst!

We've visited the Chinatown Heritage Museum, been around People's Park, walked through the shop houses. What we hope to try next time: fortune telling / astrology reading / feng shui session (just for fun!). Any idea if there are readers in the area?


What a pleasant surprise! A Philippine soap was airing on Singapore's prime time (I'm assuming 7pm weeknights is also prime time TV in SG) when we were there last month. While channel surfing, the all-too-familiar images of Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson caught my eye. It's the Pinoy mega television hit "Tayong Dalawa" aka "The Two of Us" on MediaCorp's Channel 5, dubbed in English. Aliw.

Above: Kim & Gerald on our SG hotel's flat screen!


The other night, we found ourselves missing Singapore's Mr. Bean (no he's not related to Rowan Atkinson's character). I'm talking about the soya bean snack place found almost in every SG MRT station. We love their mini pancakes -- the cheese variety stood out.

Meet Mr. Bean

some of their soya snacks

Craving for Cheese pancakes!

Wish someone can bring Mr. Bean to Manila...


"Let there be spaces in your togetherness."
-- poet Kahlil Gibran

Last weekend's Baguio trip was a classic example of "space in our togetherness." Hubby attended a photography workshop at the BenCab Museum; while I did Me Time -- reading, sleeping, food tripping and having a massage*. Together, we went up to Baguio but had our individual day skeds. We'd meet up for dinner (or sometimes after dinner) and talk about each other's day. Saya!

Above: The BenCab Museum
Km 6, Asin Road, Baguio
(Approximately 15 minutes away from the City.)

Hubby's photography workshop location.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Baguio's my hometown (my Dad's from there;
it's where I spent my childhood summers;
our family visits at least once a year)
but it was my first time in this part of Baguio.

Above: Soaked myself with art
while hubby attended the photography workshop.

The museum houses four floors of amazing works!

Above: one of BenCab's masterpieces

BenCab, a master of contemporary Philippine art,
is among the country's National Artists.

Above: one of the Contemporary Art galleries

Above: Bulols of all shapes and sizes!

Above: Too bad Bulol couldn't join this trip.
He had a tattoo appointment in Manila that weekend (seriously).

Above: Cafe Sabel
at the Ben Cab, Museum

This is where I spent a lot of time
reading, eating and surfing the net.

Above: My daily breakfast view from Cafe Sabel.
Good morning, world!

Above: BenCab's property is huge!

Above: We saw at least two
authentic century-old Ifugao Huts
within BenCab's property.

This is different from Tam-Awan Village.
I promise to find time to blog about our Tam-Awan overnight date,
circa 2005.

Above: See the hut in the middle of the pond?
That's my other reading spot.

Above: My precious reading spot.

Imagine reading alone
with the sound of the mini waterfalls as your only audio.

Book for this trip: Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Loved the film. I knew the book would be better.

Above: My frontal view while reading

Above: Same view minus the hut's interiors.

Above: View to my left while reading.

Above: My favorite from Cafe Sabel's menu
-- the spicy tuyo pasta with toasted pan de sal.
Around Php120.

Above: Mushroom omelette with
toasted pan de sal.
Around Php120.

Above: Fresh green salad with strawberry vinaigrette;
pork and chicken adobo with mountain rice.
Around Php250.

Wish: bed & breakfast option
within the BenCab Museum,
but they offer none.

We stayed near a budget lodging house.
All the other workshop attendees stayed there too.

Above: Our Baguio Must
Cafe by the Ruins

It's actually not "by the ruins" anymore though.
There's a hotel right beside it now.

Above: Loved the squash soup!

Above: Baguio Bagnet to die for!

Above: Crispy Tapa meal

*My Baguio Me Time massage: one-hour Swedish session at the mall, Php650, with shower and sauna. Very good, very Baguio. During our past trips, we've tried non-mall spas and the therapists are always very thorough.

02 May 2011


The worst thing: To get very sick during a trip.

The best thing: To have a loving husband who'll take care of you wherever, whenever.

The greatest blessing: God's healing miracles.