Category Archives: Say Cheese!

Daghang salamat, Cebu!

When I went to Cebu two years ago, I know I said I’d return again the following year. That obviously didn’t happen for several reasons, and I kind of succumbed to the thought that I’d rather go somewhere else rather than visit the same place again. So many places to see, so little time, yes?

But when Cebu Pacific had a seat sale, and my colleague invited us to go to Cebu, I jumped at the chance, dragging Grace and Jana with me. The flight was booked by April, so we had the time to pay off the tickets and save up for the activities for our (somewhat) epic weekend.

My real intention of going to Cebu wasn’t really to go around and sight see since I’ve done a bit of it the last time I was there. The initial intention was to meet up with my best friend who was there for his GX programme, but it turns out he goes back to Manila a week earlier than our flight. We wanted to go to Bantayan Island or those other beaches in Cebu, but schedule won’t permit, so we settled instead on a sort of beach-y and food trip weekend. Not as epic as Coron, probably, but relaxing enough to make it epic in my standards.

What’s with the word “epic”, anyway?

Let’s break it down by days. WARNING: Photo-heavy post!

DAY 1:

Airport, chatting, reading while waiting for the plane. Grace spotted Coco Martin on the same flight at the front, and the plane was full, so no chance for photo-ops. He was really cute in person, though, and I think the FA’s agree. ;)

We got to Cebu after lunch, and headed straight to BE Resorts in Mactan Island to meet with our other friends who flew there Friday. BE Resorts used to be Microtel Cebu. I’ve never been to Microtel, but what I know from the old name was it was also cheaper than it was now. But the hotel is still pretty, and we had a pretty great view of the pool and the beach, even if the beach isn’t that pretty. See how many times I used the word “pretty” there?

Continue reading Daghang salamat, Cebu!

First Club

I meant to post this last Sunday, but I figure that I’d be making too many posts that day. So now it’s a couple of days late, but I need to post this, because…well, anniversaries need to be celebrated, right?

So last June 20, 2010 was my first year in Fitness First. :)

*insert cheers here*

It’s been a long journey, and whenever I see pictures of myself before I started working out, I realize how much I haven’t been taking care of myself then. Okay, fine, I realize how fat I was then, and how okay I was with doing that and not doing anything physical. I can’t exactly remember how I felt then, but I knew I’ve never felt better than I do now. I have better coordination, I run faster, I don’t get tired easily, and I feel a whole lot confident now than I used to.

It’s not just working out per se, but just taking responsibility for myself and aiming to be better. You know?

Okay, enough of the fancy schmancy stuff — you can read my testimony here. Today, I’m going to share everything that I did that worked. It may or may not work for you, of course, but you can try. :D

Before and After


  • Exercise at least 3-4 times a week. When I was starting, I tried my best to work out for 5 times to make the most out of it. Now that I’ve gone a bit of a long way, I made sure to go 3-4 times a week instead. One hour is usually enough, but sometimes when I feel like it, I exercise for about 2 hours — 2 classes equivalent.
  • Cardio + strength training. Never skip strength training. The other day I saw a reflection of my arm a few hours after I worked my triceps off, and saw there was definition. Hee, vain moment. But building muscles supports weight loss, so don’t ever skip that!
  • Food diary. I realized that the weeks I gained the most weight are the weeks that I don’t log my food. I don’t know if it would work for everyone, but really, logging food helps me keep track of what I eat, and I know when I can allow myself to eat more or stick to veggies when I ate too much.
  • Offsets. On days I knew I ate a lot, it means one thing: I need to burn it off the next day. Seriously burn it off. I remember one particular week when I knew I ate a lot but ended up losing weight for the week because I managed to offset my eating with exercise. Eat a lot, sweat a lot. Sweat a lot, eat a lot. We exercise so we can eat the food that we want. :)
  • Variety. Since I’m a gym rat instead of a sports buff, I seek more variety for my routines. That’s why I run, that’s why I always try to attend classes. Variety is good for the body, and weight loss. :P
  • Eat your veggies. And fruits. But yes, always eat your veggies. I’ve learned to like veggies especially broccoli…ampalaya, I’d have to learn how to love you yet. :P
  • No deprivation. I used to be very, very strict at what I eat, but now I allow myself to eat what I want. Not always, though, but I give myself more space now, just as long as I keep on working out. Ice cream and chocolates — not a problem. :)
  • Lots of sleep. Sleep builds muscles. Muscles burn calories. See where I’m going? :P


  • Weight loss supplements. Never tried, will never try. I like the way I do it.
  • Tea. This didn’t work for me because I really never liked the taste of tea, so I don’t drink it as often.
  • Being too hard on myself. Never ever be too hard on yourself. If I gain weight one week, then it’s okay, I’ll just work harder the next week. Just as long as I don’t go back to how I was before, then it’s okay. :)

I wanted to make a longer list, but it seemed like I’m out. Like what I said in one interview I wrote for work — this isn’t just a diet or a routine, it’s a lifestyle. Long-term weight loss mean a lifestyle change, and I can definitely testify to that. :)

Oh, and let me tell you: the last ten pounds are still the hardest to lose. :P But don’t let that discourage you.

So cheers to one year!  Hello, First Club! :P

The Real 10k

So I did say I was going to run 10k during the Nat Geo Run last April 18. I wanted to, I really wanted to, but we were late and we had a hard time parking and we were in a hurry. This is why I never blogged about it, because I didn’t feel like blogging how I didn’t really get to run 10k after all. Good thing the shirt was pretty, though. :P

I promised myself I would run that 10k by hook or by crook, so when I heard that the second leg of the Runrio Trilogy is open for registration, I’m all for 10k. My brother registered me, and I had more than a month to prepare and get a lot of friends to join us (and face it, running is in, more than getting cheap health insurance). What’s running when you’re not with friends, right?

In preparation for the race, I had to have my gear. :P I know, I know, I’m using this as an excuse to shop, but leave me be. At least I have my running gear…sort of. :)

So anyway, how was the race?

  • I planned to sleep early and wake up early on the day before the race. I was ready for bed by 8, but I had to wait for my brother and his girlfriend to get home, and in the end, we all slept by 12. To wake up at 4. Torture much.
  • The next morning, we just had coffee and off we went to The Fort. Funny thing is, we were late again! We had a hard time parking, and when we got out, we saw the 10k runners on the go. Oops! We weren’t really that worried, since we had the timing chips, so it wouldn’t matter if we would were late.
  • There were a lot of 5k runners again, but not as many as the one in the Century Tuna Run. It was still hard to slip by to start running, so we waited for the gun start for 5k. Our results ended up being in 5k, at least until I emailed.
  • I was doing quite well for the start, but that was until I realized: I had to pee. It was the coffee’s fault, I swear! I was still running with my brother and his girlfriend then, so I told them the first portalet I saw, I will stop and pee. Thank goodness the first water station had a portalet, which was still relatively clean. It felt so good to pee, heh. :P
  • The run was relatively smooth. I wanted to do a 3:1 or 5:1 run/walk ratio, but I couldn’t manage anymore after I peed. Eep. I just alternated running and walking instead, making the watering stations as a marker when to walk again.
  • And speaking of water: I have never felt so happy to see so many water stations. :D I don’t normally drink 100 Plus, but I find that I liked the yellow one.
  • I used my Nike+ to track my run, and I was really glad to see that I reached 5k earlier than I normally do. :) That Nike+ was a great gadget, too — it’s motivating to see the pace, distance and all that during the run and see how my run was afterwards. This is what my 10k looked like after:
  • Reaching the finish line really felt good! I knew I could make it, but actually getting there is priceless. Well worth all the preparations I did. :D

Final time? 1:17:16. My 10k on a treadmill is 10:21:something. Not bad for a first timer, right? And I had more PhotoVendo shots, too! Look:

So, it was a pretty awesome run. I promised myself that I would not run less than 10k anymore — unless of course I’m injured or sick, or if I’m going to try a trail run. :P I’m glad I decided to push myself to reach 10k this time. :)

Oh, and there were no celebrity sightings, but I did get this picture:

Excuse all the sweat, I just finished 10k here. :P Rio was nice enough to pause long enough from the work in organizing a race to have a picture taken with him. :)

So yay! When’s the next? :)

A Very Long Birthday

day seventeen.

My birthday is ending on other parts of the world, so I guess it’s time to do a recount of what happened in the past few days.

This has probably been the longest birthday celebration that I have ever had, hence the title of this post (thanks Jana for the suggestion). I guess it’s because my birthday fell on a Wednesday, or maybe it’s for another reason…but whatever it is, it kind of relieved me of the birthday blues. You know, the kind you get when you realize your birthday is over, something I mentioned in a previous post, I think. By eleven o’clock last night, I was glad that my day was ending, and I was ready to start my 24th year.

But first, what made it so long, anyway?

March 13 – 14 (Saturday to Sunday).

I knew my friends were already planning a surprise party for me, as it’s suddenly a tradition between my friends and I. I tried my best not to expect, really, but it’s funny how we’d often joke about the party. :)) It wasn’t until Wednesday last week when Chester invited me to my own party that I confirmed I had a party.

Now, the thing was, I didn’t know what to expect for the party. I didn’t know where it would happen, who would come and all that shiz. All I know is that on Saturday, I’d go to the gym, then hang out with my friends and watch a play in the evening. My mind would play all sorts of  scenarios in my mind: maybe they’re all in the condo? Did they invite my old friends? Maybe we’re not really watching a play tonight? Maybe, maybe?

After a very long afternoon in the gym (Body Combat + Body Pump + Body Jam), my friends and I left the mall and headed for Makati, where we’re supposed to meet up with Cors and Gel for our dinner before he head off to Avenue Q. We had a very long drive to Makati, which involved us supposedly getting Krispy Kreme, getting gas, going around The Fort and getting lost in Makati. We finally got to Greenbelt at around six. By that time, I wasn’t thinking of the party — I was already too hungry to do so. Noel and I headed for Chili’s, and then I spotted a couple of people and then…OH HELLO!

Continue reading A Very Long Birthday

Twenty Four

day sixteen.

Twenty four oceans
Twenty four skies
Twenty four failures
Twenty four tries
Twenty four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
Twenty four drop outs
At the end of the day
Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty four hours ago

And, happy birthday!

The thing with all the different happenings in the past few days is that it made me feel that I’ve been celebrating my birthday for so long already, starting Saturday, that finally getting to my actual birthday felt…well, like it’s not new anymore. Yes, I’m still excited, but it’s kind of winding down, and well…in a way, I’m glad, even if I do feel a bit sad.

My phone has been ringing with messages all day, friends are buzzing me on YM and my Facebook wall is filled with messages that I have yet to reply to. I just had lunch with my teammates, got a cake and a cute gift from my goddaughter, and it’s a relatively nice day. I look forward to tonight when I have dinner with my family and get one of the shoes I’ve been wanting to get since last month. This year’s birthday has been all about shoes, I wonder what that means. :)

I wore a dress today, too. And although it isn’t a new dress, it’s probably the most comfortable I’ve felt wearing something girly in the longest time. Even if I ate a lot during lunch (Shakey’s! ♥), I still feel pretty. Beautiful, even. :) Again, I love wearing dresses. And I’m still looking for more clothes. The reward of losing weight. :)

Earlier today, I got to talk to an old friend, who finally remembered my birthday on time. It’s a nice way to start the new year, and somehow it gives me hope that all is not lost between the two of us. She asked me what I feel now that I’m a year older, and as I thought about it, I realized that I don’t feel as lost, as opposed to how I felt a couple of years ago. I can’t say that I’m already rooted or in Maslow’s terms, I’ve reached self-actualization…but I guess it’s safe to say that I’ve gotten rid of some of my struggles and baggage from last year.

Still I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And I’m not who I thought I was twenty four hours ago
Still I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with You

Twenty four reasons to admit that I’m wrong
With all my excuses still twenty four strong

See I’m not copping out not copping out not copping out
When You’re raising the dead in me

So what’s it going to be on my 24th? I’m seeing changes, lots of it. My brother’s wedding, for one. And renovation of our house. And I’m betting there’s more, because life likes throwing curve balls…but I’d like to believe that I can react faster this time. :)

And You’re raising these twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts
But I want to be one today
Centered and true

I’m not afraid of these changes. At least, not as much as I used to be. The thought kind of makes me uneasy…but my God is bigger. And I have been blessed with great family and awesome friends, and I know that they’ll always be there and God will always be there, and there’s nothing that can separate me from His love. No calamity, tragedy, guy, loneliness, even happiness can ever separate me from His love. Ever.

I want to see miracles, see the world change
Wrestled the angel, for more than a name
For more than a feeling
For more than a cause
I’m singing Spirit take me up in arms with You
And You’re raising the dead in me
Twenty four voices
With twenty four hearts
With all of my symphonies
In twenty four parts.

This year, I’m going to be open to opportunities. I’m going to stay positive and see the good thing in every situation. I’m going to believe that my 24th year in this life is going to be an awesome year. Yes?

Thanks to everyone who made this day special. ♥ You guys are equally awesome. Now I’m off to hear mass. :)

Edited to add: To celebrate my birthday online…I created a account! Ask me anything!

Twenty Three

day fifteen.

I meant to post 23 things about being 23 years old, but I realized that…well, making a list that long is kind of hard. I’m talkative, I know, but coming up with a list like that is a bit too mentally taxing for someone who’s a bit too tired from a double class in the gym.

Or maybe I’m just lazy. Buuuut nevertheless.

In less than an hour, I’m turning 24. It feels kind of sad that the day I’ve anticipated to come since last month is finally coming, and pretty soon, it will be all over, and life would be back to normal. I know, these thoughts I’m having are depressing, but as what I talked about with Jana earlier, it’s kind of like what we feel when Christmas is over. It’s time to go back to normal.

But it’s not even the 17th yet, so I better cut these thoughts.

So. 23. How was my 23rd year? This time last year, I was in a long call, and shortly later, I was surprised by some friends, and went home feeling giddy because it was the first time I ever received a sunflower. That picture over there was me, exactly a year ago. Longer hair, and slightly more pudgy. ;)

My 23rd year was quite eventful, really, but for the life of me, I’m sort of having a hard time recalling the specific things that happened. I don’t want to bore you with that anyway, because if you want to know about that, then you can just browse through the archives. But I think, what’s more important than remembering what happened is to remember what I learned in the past year of existence, to remind me of them when I start a new year in my life.

So. Again. Twenty-three.

  • This year, I learned and realized that I had very great friends. I know I used to complain a lot about how I suck at keeping in touch, or that I don’t have a solid group of friends and all…but this year, I was proven wrong. I have the most awesome friends ever. I’m so glad I reconnected with my high school friends and from seeing each other every six months, we now see each other every week! Plus, I’m so blessed that they get along with my office and college friends, so I can go out with a whole bunch of people and feel like we’ve all known each other forever. With friends like them, who needs a boyfriend? ;)
  • This year, I also found out that I can make new friends if I really want to. I’m not the friendliest person around — at least, as far as I know — but now I really think I’m starting to reach out more and hang out with different sets of people and make memories with them…and none of it involves me sharing a story about a boy or a love problem, which was how I started friendships (that ultimately became acquaintances) before.
  • One more about friendship. It’s also this year that it really hit me that friends really do come and go. Even if that friend was someone who I used to be really close to. I tried my best to keep the friendship alive, but a one-sided effort can only go so far. I got tired, and I was hurt, and until now, I’m still trying to let go and forgive the person. I’m still here to be a friend, but this year, I’ve made up my mind to move on and not wait for that other person to catch up with my life.
  • This year, I still had a hard time praying. But I also learned that God’s love is still bigger than my weaknesses, and that He is always, always there even if I am not.
  • This year, I was able to read more. And write more. I think this is the year that I was able to write more blog entries, articles and stories, even if I did experience the worst burn out in writing I’ve ever had. I definitely read more books, and I’m glad that I never lost that love of reading.
  • This year, I learned that anything is possible. If I put my time, heart and if needed, money, into it, I can do it. It’s all in the discipline, and how much you want it. I know it’s vague, but the best example for this is when my weight loss — I never thought I would have been able to reach it if I didn’t put my time, heart, and yes, money, into it.
  • This year, I learned to fight for my heart. If you ask me a year ago what I wanted…in a guy, specifically, I would not have been able to answer. A long night at a coffee shop with good friends made me realize that, and anything that involved matters of the heart is worth fighting for. Yes, I think I may be able to answer the question up there…but right now I’m keeping it for myself. ;)
  • This year, I learned not to be too uptight. I’ve learned to relax, to have fun, to try new things even if I haven’t tried them before. Being too serious can give you adult acne, you know. There is wisdom in Yes Man, and in saying yes to things. :)
  • This year, I learned to be more open to people. This is a bit love specific again, but I realized that I don’t need to be strict with the things I want in a guy. Love isn’t about similarities alone, after all, but differences as well. I may sound a bit idealistic at times, but now I’m trying to be open to other people’s quirks and traits. There are non-negotiables, of course, but for the little stuff, I’m learning to be more accepting. In addition, I also learned that my ideal situation is not what really happens in real life, and I need to stop imposing them on other people. Different strokes for different folks. :)
  • One more thing about love. This year, I learned to be okay with being alone. I think this is the most important lesson I learned with regards to love life, because it relieves me of the pressure of looking for someone. I’m happy with being by myself. :)
  • And finally, this year, I learned that God’s plan is wider and deeper than what I can initially see. Ondoy changed my life, but it reminded me that God’s is stronger and more powerful and bigger than any typhoon or calamity that comes. I also learned that everything that happens in life is a part of God’s will. I may not see it now, but someday it will all make sense.

I have a feeling there’s more, but I’ll stop here because I want to post this entry before 12 midnight strikes. It’s already 11:59PM — one minute till I turn 24. :) Am I ready to be older and wiser once again?


day twelve.

On the way to lunch earlier, my teammates and I passed by Mrs. Fields, and there was a big cookie cake there that says, “Congratulations, Graduates!” It took us a while to really get that, and realize that it’s March, and it is graduation season! Wow. Don’t you just love graduations?

If you’re a college senior and graduation is just around the corner, I know that there’s still one hurdle you have to go through before you get to official graduate status: thesis.

Ah, thesis. It changes your life, you know.

Four years ago today was my thesis defense. I used to have long blog entries about my thesis thoughts here, before I started my blog again from scratch (and before I lost my archives in The Great Ginger Crash of 2007), and believe me, when I say long, they were long.

I was a pretty good student from high school to college, but in between those two chapters of my life, I went from a star student (high school) to an average student (college). I pretty much “coasted” along in college, save for some bumps in the roads (three failures) and some high moments (Dean’s List for one term), but I never found anything as challenging as thesis was.

Our thesis was divided into three terms: IS-RESM, ISTHES1 and ISTHES2. Let me tell you the story of each term (and then some). :)

IS-RESM. IS-RESM is all about the thesis proposal, so this was the time we pick our desired topics, find a problem about how it was being taught or learned and propose a solution for it, based on what we have learned for the past few years. I admit, I suck at conceptual stuff. I had a hard time researching for theories, and I couldn’t see how it would help in our project. I was more of an application person, and I knew I could keep up with creating the application…but first, we need to make a proposal.

This was the time when I was starting to become active in YFC again, and I guess that kind of got me distracted. I wasn’t in the mood to do thesis because I wanted to do other stuff. I also didn’t really like our topic: Costing and Pricing for Entrepreneurs. It was kind of a disaster of a term. We got a redefense verdict for our first defense, and finally a fail on our redefense. I cried in the lobby right after, but I knew it was really where we were headed.

What happened next? Two words: summer term.

Continue reading Thesisizing

Before and After

I’ve been stalling on posting this post because I feel like it’s a vain one, but I guess vanity finally won me over the weekend because I saw some recent pics of myself and I was surprised at how different I was a year ago. Plus the fact that I wore a dress for the first time in ages last Saturday — it felt really nice to be girly again and have the confidence to be one, you know?

And this is no secret anymore because it’s going to be posted at my home branch, so…yeah. I guess I’ve got to face the music.

So friends, I present to you my weight loss story/testimonial. Heh.

“Lose weight” has always been a part of my New Year’s resolutions for the longest time, and it always finds itself there year after year. Ever since I started working, I also started to gain more weight because of the semi-sedentary lifestyle I adapted. Every year, I tell myself to start getting serious at losing weight, but I never seemed to have enough motivation to see things through.

BEFORE - January 2009 Continue reading Before and After

Coron, Palawan

I’ve dreamt of going to that province for the longest time. I remember, ever since seeing the place somewhere on TV or reading about how beautiful it is there (I can’t remember which, exactly), I told myself: someday, I will go there. And I did. Before 2009 ended, I was able to see a part of Palawan, Philippines.

View before landing
View before landing

It’s ironic how we got to book the trip on the day we got flooded. I remember coming out of my room that morning, totally jubilant, because I had just booked my flight to Coron, and then all that joy got wiped out when I saw the water rising up our street.

But let’s not talk about that.

It was a trip I looked forward to after the entire flood thing. It was a trip that I looked forward to after I suffered through major burnout last November. It was a trip that I wanted to experience to make  my 2009 a little bit better than it was turning out to be.

And what do you know, it was.

Now, I won’t be able to write down every single detail that happened, so let me put them down in bullets and photos. :)

  • Coron is a province. I haven’t been to Puerto Prinsesa yet, which is a city, but Coron is far from being a city. I don’t think I saw any cars, save for the vans we rode, and everything is walking distance. And don’t expect to see anything like Minka Aire there, because there’s none. I almost thought we would be landing in the middle of nowhere as the plane descended when we got there. This was my view:
    The view WHILE landing
    The view WHILE landing

    It was a bit unfortunate that while we were there, the island was having electricity problems. Then again, we were always out of the house, so it didn’t matter anyway. :)
    Continue reading Coron, Palawan

Friday the 13th

Hello, it’s Friday the 13th again. Have you got into any trouble today? Or have you experienced anything out of the ordinary? I’m not superstitious, but anything could happen today.

Nothing really special happened today, except I woke up and found out I have my period. Too much information, I know, but this made me realize why I have been so moody/emo/stressed the past few days. And probably why I’m not losing too much weight for the past two weeks. :/ I hate it that I can’t predict when this is coming because of the irregularity, because sometimes I can’t figure out if what I am feeling is something hormone related or not.

But in other news, other than work deadlines and NaNoWriMo, life’s pretty quiet. Christmas is coming, and the chill in the air and the beautiful weather is enough to cheer me up. I’m still kind of wary of rains, and every time I see or read or hear about anything related to Ondoy, I get the shivers. Our Palawan trip is pushing through and I need to shop for clothes. I’m loving dance class at the gym, even if I’ve been dancing the same thing for the past four weeks. I can do dance class and combat class one after the other, which is a huge improvement. I need to lift heavier weights to shock my muscles so it won’t go on maintenance mode because I still have 15 lbs of fat to lose (so much, I know). But I’m glad that I need to wear belts again, and my clothes fit me better.

Last weekend I went to a team building for work and I did a lot of things I’ve never done before. There was an obstacle course, and we had to cross a hanging bridge, cross a tight rope and then crawl in the mud. I wasn’t too nervous about the first and third things, but the second was scary. However, I ended up being more scared of the hanging bridge and doing a lot better with the tight rope. Interesting. But I think I wouldn’t have done it if I haven’t been exercising. At the end of the day, I also went zip-lining and it was awesome. Yay for being active?

Look who's crossing the tight rope.
Look who's crossing the tight rope.

This weekend, I’m going to try to have a stress-free weekend. I will go out with some friends, spend time with family and write. I wish I can share an excerpt for you guys from my novel, but I don’t think there’s anything share-worthy just yet. Maybe next time?

Oh, but I’m doing fantasy next year. I swear.

Anyway, I better finish this work I have pending on my computer and also write a bit more, before I save this novel and back it up with the free online backup I know. Have a great weekend friends. ♥