Monday, September 8, 2014


The sun and the warm weather are one of the few things I learned to appreciate ever since I’ve experienced living in a country wherein maybe 9 out of 12 months in a year are cool or damp. It is these 3 months that people can finally wear their shorts, flip flops, sleeveless shirts and sundresses.

From previous summers, I remember looking forward to being able to hike and run outside. This summer was totally different. I didn’t even get to hike, and only ran maybe 5 times, max this summer. I thought buying new runners would inspire me to go running more, but no, it did not (unfortunately).

I think this year was a little different because of a couple of things – my grandpa passed away end of Spring, early summer, and things were a little hectic for a while and I couldn’t really “have fun” for 100 days, or during grieving period. Also, before, I used to join folks from Manila on “pasyal” trips. Now, not anymore. Maybe because I don’t know or I’m not close to most of the people who were were sent here to work for a couple of months. Another factor could be, I started spending a lot more time with someone new too!

This doesn’t mean though that I didn’t do anything at all this summer. As I thought more about it, there were a couple of “fun” things I did this time around.

1. Golf

It all started when I joined a golf tournament at work. Mind you, I only played pitch and putt twice and did driving range only once before. But this year, I ended up going to the driving range maybe twice, and went to play a half – 3/4 part of a full golf 18 hole course (aside from the tournament itself). Took us 3.5 hours to finish, but super fun.

I enjoyed it so much that I’ve been thinking about getting my own set of clubs and maybe getting some beginner’s lesson. But, as always, I haven’t done any yet. Budget constraints + storage area concerns.

Previously, golf had this impression on me that it was such a slow-paced and boring sport. But after playing it a couple of times, I’ve learned to appreciate it more and why people actually get addicted to it.

2. Sunset Watching

Went to the beach and watched the sun set. Did this activity three times. Wonderful. Relaxing.


3. Outdoor Movie

I’ve always wanted to do this!! We did this a couple of weeks back. It can get cold late at night though so don’t forget to bring blankets! And, I’d suggest to bring lounge chairs or something similar instead of just sitting down on top of picnic blankets on the grass. Can you imagine watching a movie for an hour and half without any back support? Tough!

4. Tandem Bike Ride

I love riding a bike, but I’d never though I’d end up riding … a tandem bike!

Not only did we end up riding a tandem bike (his idea, btw), but when he picked me up, and this is no joke – we were wearing a matchy matchy attire – light purple shirt and khaki shorts/capris. I am not one who is a big fan of  wearing matching stuff but I think he was because… I think he was very happy about the coincidence (I remember during one event we went to before that he gave me a shirt to wear that’s exactly the same shirt as he had on. I just didn’t wear it because it was too big).

So picture this, tandem bike ride + matching outfits. Eye catching for sure. Someone shouted to us at some point: “Go Purple Team!” LOL!

5. Paint Nite

My officemate invited me to join her for an event called “Paint Nite”. It’s a 2 hour event wherein you paint on your own, with no requirement of having to be artistic or experienced in painting. You attempt to copy a painting, while someone is guiding and teaching you.

The two hours flew by so quickly! That’s how much fun we had. To be honest, we hardly talked to each other anymore because we painted and painted and painted! The teacher made everything sound and look easy.

And below is the end result. The one on the right is my creation! Great activity to do with your friends.


Now I can’t seem to stop listing down more things that I did or experienced this summer.

Overall, I enjoyed this summer. A little different from the past summers – lots of new memories created and new activities experienced. Now, looking forward to the Fall season!

Friday, April 18, 2014


The Fault In Our Stars is a best selling young adult novel by John Green about teenagers facing the agony of cancer and the happiness of finding love amidst the situation they are in.

My younger sister had read this a while back and has been telling me to read it. I feel a little old reading a young adult book, but who cares, I am a sucker for love stories anyway, may it be for adults or young adults. Thus, I finally decided to read it. By the way, there’s an upcoming movie based on this novel as well.

Like many other young adult love stories that I’ve read (and believe me, I’ve read a lot – Love Stories series!), it reminds us all of how fun it is to be in love, even if you’re facing the worst of circumstances. Hazel and Augustus learns something great about life and love even if they knew that any time now, their cancer can steal them away from this world, from each other.

I find the book a little more sentimental than other young adult novels I’ve read. It’s kind of like a Nicholas Sparks novel, except that it’s geared more towards  young adults.

I’ve read a lot of books recently, and truth be told, the reason why this book stands out and had me writing a little something about it is because this nice guy I’ve been spending a lot of time with recently suggested that we read a book together and I pick which one we would read at the same time. And since this book’s been popping everywhere into my life, I picked this.

It’s a fun and simple activity that makes things a little different from what I’ve experienced before. For someone like me who likes reading, it’s awesome to actually be able to discuss it with someone else. In fact, he even mentions a specific page wherein according to him, when he read it, reminded him of something I did a couple of times that he, for some reason cannot forget:

As I reread that night, I kept getting distracted imagining Augustus Waters reading the same words. I wondered if he’d like it, or if he’d dismiss it as pretentious. Then I remember my promise to call him after reading The Price of Dawn, so I found his number on its title page and texted him.

Price of Dawn review: Too many bodies. Not enough adjectives. How’s AIA?

He replied a minute later: As I recall, you promised to CALL when you finished the book, not text.

In other words, he said that I never gave him a call back even if he requested that I call him back (because I couldn’t get to his calls when he tried calling me up during those couple of times). I always replied back via text. Well, that’s me! Funny, now that I think about it.

Since this book is now done, the next thing I’m looking forward to is for the movie to come to the theaters some time June this year. Something we can both look forward to as well.

Sunday, March 9, 2014


For me, winter season has only been about the cold weather and wearing layers of clothing to keep myself warm. This season though, I think I’ve gotten more out of it, and enjoying it more because I was able to do a lot more winter activities this time around. A few weeks back, I got to try cross country skiing. And last Saturday, I was finally able to try snowboarding. Winter activities though can be expensive. Aside from the gears that you will rent (if you don’t have your own), you also need to buy lift tickets. But at the end of it all, it’s all about the experience – did you enjoy? Did you have a wonderful time?

They said that snow came in a little late this season so even though it was already March, there was still some new snow up in Cyress that day. New snow is nice because it keeps the slopes powdery soft and makes it look even more beautiful and pristine. Below is one shot of Cypress Mountain from base. This was one of the locations during the Vancouver Winter Olympics last 2010. They still have the Olympic logo up.

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As this was my first time snowboarding, I was mentally and physically prepared to fall down a lot. I did fall a couple of times, with the last big fall resulting into a huge bruise of different color near my butt. I still blame the girl who sort of slightly collided with me as we alighted from the ski chair lift. When you’re in the lift, you only wear one of the boots in the snowboard and your other boot is not strapped into the board. So when we alighted from the ski lift, we both fell down and I ended up falling sitting down into the other empty boot strap in my snowboard, causing me this huuuuuge colorful bruise by my butt/hamstring area. Ouch. After a week, it’s still there – thankfully, not as painful anymore.

My free lessons were provided by my friend – my “teacher” for the day! Two other friends were supposed to come with us but one of them ended up being sick so they had to back out. Too bad because our designated teacher was pretty good and patient. That or I was a good student – learned quickly. Depends I suppose who you ask.

We first started with the basics, and then moved on to the bunny hills. This is an excellent way to start learning snowboard – gliding down on a not so steep slope, taking your time. I think we were there for 1-2 hours just going down the bunny hill, then walking up again, and then back. It gives you a little bit more confidence especially since the next you want to try is the higher slope – this is the time you’d need to ride the ski lift already. My officemate gave me this simple advise, that I followed, and worked like a charm. When you’re turning, exaggerate – do not hesitate and just pull your other leg around in an exaggerated manner. It is quite hard to explain here, but if in the event I have friends who are new to snowboarding, I will give them this tip for sure.

I think majority of the hard work happens in the core and lower body. Seems like it’s mostly in the legs for balancing and breaking, and then the core to assist you for movement and picking yourself when you fall down. Snowboarding take a lot of strength, that’s for sure. And during snowboarding downhill, having a lot of hesitations will make you fall down more. Be cautious, but not too much too. It’s like riding a bike - when you’re too slow and hesitate a lot, it’s much harder to balance the bike. 

As much as it was so much fun to snowboard, the after effects the next day were terrible. Two huge bruises in my butt and hamstring, and my legs were very sore. The shins in my legs hurt because of the boot. Over fatigue. Then again, we were snowboarding for almost 5-6 hours. Did I enjoy? Yes, definitely. I was hoping to try it again, however, winter season is almost over so I might have to wait for the next season before I can enjoy this activity again. It’s tiring, but fun and exciting at the same time. It’s more exhilarating than cross country skiing for sure, especially with the speed that comes with it. Until next season then!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Winter Season!

This winter season is by far the most memorable I’ve had. A lot of firsts.


Last January 18 – two days after I came back to Vancouver from Manila, my friends and I had a planned snowmobile tour activity up in Whistler. There was a discount package from Groupon that gave us around 50% discount for the tour package. Couldn’t get any better than that. So we bought and booked it last November.

How it’s setup is that each tour group will have one tour guide, and depending on how many you are in the group, you may have to share a snowmobile with another person. The tour guide will bring you to different routes, trails and sights. If I remember correctly, the whole tour took around 1.5 or 2 hours. You can also swap with your partner as to who gets to drive the snowmobile.

I only tried to drive the snowmobile once for maybe 15 minutes. The rest of the trip, I decided that I wanted to the passenger instead of the driver. For me, getting to drive it once was good enough, and I preferred to sit at the back as I get to enjoy the sights more!

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This is an activity I would probably just do every now and then. For one, it’s expensive, and two, I still prefer driving a car over snowmobiles. haha

Cross Country Skiing

The original plan last Saturday was to do a snow shoe tour up in Cypress Mountain. But that same morning, my friend suggested that we try cross country skiing instead (Both of us haven’t tried it yet too). Unfortunately, I never got to snap any photos at all during my 4 hour cross country skiing endeavor, and thus I only have here a picture to remind me of my first ever cross country skiing experience – my new goggles.


Usually in cross country skiing, you won’t need to wear goggles. Goggles are primarily used for downhill skiing and snowboarding. However, we ended up buying one because there was such a heavy snowfall that day that we needed something just to cover up our eyes.

I never knew this before, but cross country skiing is a bit different from downhill skiing. One of the main difference between the two is that the boots used in cross country skiing has its back detached from the ski itself, as opposed to downhill, where both front and back of the boot is attached to the ski. Aside from that, the size of the ski for cross country is a little bit narrower as compared to downhill skiing.

Cross country skiing is simple, it’s like walking on skis. However, the challenge for me is during the low downhill slopes where you need to break or change directions. So hard and stressful! The way to break your speed is to move your skis on an angled placement - think of it as an inverted V, and then pushing outward. It looks so easy when you see other people do it, but when you yourself have to do it, nerve-wracking! I think I fell face down a couple of times!

And you know that you’ve been working so hard because when I went home, my inner long sleeved shirt was wet by the armpits and the elbow part. To think it was snowing like crazy up in the mountain – I’m pretty sure that wasn’t because it was hot! I was quite sore the following day too. But all in all, this is a fun activity/workout that I would definitely do again, maybe every weekend (if I were rich!).


Maybe this weekend? I do have new snow pants that I just bought this week. Haha

Monday, February 10, 2014

First Attempt: Lattice Top Crust for My Apple Pie

My first attempt to make a lattice top pie crust. Not the best looking. This is pre oven.


After an hour in the oven:


Looks sumptuous (in my very biased opinion)!

I think the problem I had was that I didn’t roll out the top dough to the right size. It was a little too big, which caused the dough to be too thin and long, and it was uneven all over. Lessons learned. Once we have another bunch of leftover apples, I’ll try to do it again. Master the technique!

I’ll have to let it sit for now to cool down. Will have to wait until tomorrow to taste it!

And that’s my project for this weekend. Let’s see what I come up with for next weekend.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A Few Thoughts On My Recent Trip Back Home

Going back home for the holidays last November/December/January was an experience I will always treasure.

It was the first time I came back to visit my family and friends in Manila since deciding to move permanently to Canada. Although it was only 7 months prior that I did move to Canada, the thought that I have uprooted myself and moved here makes me miss everything back home so much more. When I used to stay in Canada for 3-6 months a year, I didn’t feel like I was missing a lot from back home. But now, there’s just so much more to miss, and at the same time, appreciate.

Living abroad permanently gives you a better sense of appreciation of everything – this could be family or friends that you may have taken for granted, or things that you hated about Manila but in fact, missed so much as well (the irony!).

Such  a blessing it was when my manager allowed me to stay put in Manila for an “extended” vacation of 6.5 weeks (includes 3 weeks of actual work). I had to burn the midnight oil for my work though, but who cares. It gave me another 3.5 weeks to spend with family and friends.

Aside from the pasalubongs that I brought home with me, I also brought back to Manila my new and improved (but still not good) cooking and baking skills! So of course I had to show it off to my family! I cooked siopao, spinach gratin, mushroom stuffed spinach and cheese,  chicken and broccoli, and some other. I baked my favorite banana bread, and made two apple pies! Funny thing is, my mom had this new oven toaster that’s still in the box, never been touched, never been used for a few months! My mom was so happy someone finally took it out of the box and used it!


For some reason, I loved cooking and baking for them, even though my dad almost never ate anything I made unless I forced him to do so. I fondly remember cooking my spinach stuffed mushroom and preparing apple cider (Christmas eve) and baking my apple pie (New Year’s eve) where in my guests of honor were required to eat and drink everything I prepared. :) Fortunately, the family gladly obliged.

This was just one of the few things that I enjoyed doing for them and with them. The gatherings for lunch and dinner together - spending time with each other made my trip more memorable. As I live far away from them now, I have learned to appreciate the time that I have been given with them even more. And with the younglings around, it’s just so much more fun! Take a look at the picture below!


I have to mention that friends also made my stay in Manila much more enjoyable. The chitchats and gossips, what more can I say? So worth it!

As dramatic as this post may sound, what I want to share is that I am one blessed person. I love the life I am slowly building here in Canada, and yet, I also and still have a wonderful life back home in Manila, which will always give me something to look forward to each year, that is, going back on another trip to a place I call my home.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Detox Take 2 Result

I hate to admit it, but I failed my detox 2 (again…). I only made it through one day.

Two main problems I encountered:

1. I followed the recipe right down to the tee. I would say, ideally that’s how it should be, but the problem with that approach is that it may not necessarily cater to your taste – which for me was the main reason why I failed. I just didn’t like the way ginger overpowered my breakfast drink, or perhaps the veggie juice with just tasted awful.

2. I wasn’t ready. By afternoon, I felt hungry, and then I couldn’t focus on work. Might’ve been psychological too (just the thought of only drinking juice).

There are a couple of things I learned though.

1. Be prepared mentally (and physically). It takes a lot of discipline to go through a strict and proper detox. Cheating is not an option as you’ll just be wasting your time.

2. Make sure to prepare drinks that you would enjoy drinking. When I did this detox, I strictly followed the prescribed fruit/veggie combination per meal, which unfortunately, did not always suite my taste buds. However, when I tried mixing the ingredients together according to my own preference, then I started looking forward to drinking them, instead of dreading them.

Since I am not yet mentally prepared for a detox yet, I still made good use of my ingredients. I still made my juices, but this time around, according to my preferred taste. And these juices, I use as supplement for now, instead of a meal replacement. It still gives you that bit of a detox (I suppose), but balances it out with my main meals. And when I get hungry within the day, instead of grabbing just some random stuff to snack on, I drink this instead. And so far, after a couple of days, it’s been working out pretty good.