Silver Lining

No matter how crappy, stressful, frustrating or disastrous a day is, there's always a silver lining within that day. Either there was a good soul who put brightness even in its microscopic form or a good thing, in any form, that painted a smile on your face.

This day is probably one of the most frustrating days of my life. I don't want to go further into details but I'll just share my silver lining or consoling prospect for today.

Earlier this morning, I met a 9-year old half-Filipino and half-Chinese boy in a school. When he entered the room where I was staying, he brought out his toys while his mom was filling up his application form for admission. After few minutes, his mom went to the administration head's office so we were the only ones left in the waiting area. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hi. What's your name?
TJ: I'm TJ.
Me: So are you transferring to this school?
TJ: Yes. I used to study in CSA in Makati.
Me: Ohh I see.
TJ: You? Are you a student here?
Me: (laughing inside) No. Do I look like one?
TJ: Yes. I thought you are a student here.
Me: Awww.

Our conversation did not end there. We still talked for a couple of minutes.

Though it may seem to be very shallow. At least, there was an incident today that makes me want to reminisce. Who would've thought that a 9-year old kid/stranger can brighten my day? Sometimes I can't help but be too amazed by life's unexpected and surprising ways of turning a bad day into a good one even just for a short moment.


Off my bucket list: Do an inspirational talk/ Be a guest speaker

Speaking in front of a big crowd makes my stomach crumble and ironically, it is part of my bucket list to do an inspirational talk or be a guest speaker in an event. Another item in my bucket list: CHECKED!

Last September 2012, Sister Linda Coronel of the JHS Chaplet invited me to do a short talk at the 34th Solemn Prayer Overnight Vigil which was held last night (January 26, 2013) at the San Nicolas Parish. Of course it's such an honor to speak before the youth. But my dilemma was what will be my topic in my talk? I asked Sister Linda what she'd like me to talk about. She said "your life story". At first I was hesitant to talk about my life in front of a big crowd because it's something personal plus I'm such a cry baby. I cry easily. I am not used to sharing it in a big group, it would be better if I just write it or share it in a small group or in a one on one conversation. Then again, I told myself that if this is a means to inspire people and learn from my experiences, why not? I should give it a shot.

During the talk, I shared part and parcel of my life - major turning point, crucial stages, hardest moment and my most rewarding experience. I wouldn't talk about it here in detail. Anyway, I would just like to share the things I learned after everything I've been through. Definitely, I learned a lot but I summarized my learning into four. So here it goes.

1. The value of independence

As early as 16, I learned to be independent. This was the time when my Tita Hilda (who was my immediate guardian then) left for the US. My father was overseas too and my mom died when I was still 7 years old. Basically, I lived a life with minimal guidance. It was also the crucial stage in my life because I was heading to college then; another period of adjustment.

I had to do the following: look for a place to stay in Manila, undergo medical and dental examinations, college enrollment, and move some of my things to Manila. All these I had to handle and manage on my own. On a side note, some relatives were kind enough to accompany and guide me.

Back then, I thought it was too early for me to experience those things but I guess it's something that I should be thankful for at some extent. However, even if I learned to be independent, I kept in my mind not to abuse my independence. If I abused my independence, maybe I became a rebel child, I got pregnant at an early age, or I didn't finish college if these are the norms.

2. Instead of focusing on what I don't have, why don't I focus on what I do have?

Yes, I lost my mother at an early age but I have a guardian angel now. My father may not be physically present but he never forgot his responsibilities. He's such a good provider and a responsible one. Other important family members may have departed but I know they are watching over me. Lastly, most of my loved ones were already in US but they never failed to show their love and concern for me.

Rather than considering the aforementioned instances as my weak points or as a form of discouragement, I used them as my strengths to be stronger and go on with life. I did not dwell on what's missing in my life because if I do so, I wouldn't be where I am now.

3. Do not be afraid of failure.

It was in college when I first experienced to fail in an exam. I got sad and depressed. I cried over that  exam for days. I kept asking myself then "Am I a stupid idiot? Am I a borderline brain-dead moron? (italicized words I got from Damon Salvatore's hahaha)". What I meant was, I never failed way back grade school and high school, only in college. I guess some people could empathize with me especially those who were on top of the class during their GS and HS years.

Then I realized, if I didn't fail that time, I wouldn't be able to stand up from where I tumbled. That experience wasn't my first and last failure. I failed several times as I go along the way but I did not allow failures to ruin my composure and optimism. Failures molded me to be stronger and made me prove that I can be so much better than that.

4. Never stop learning.

Learning inside the classroom? That's given. In the future, if you don't already remember the equations, formulas or theories you learned inside the classroom, it's okay. If you will give me a mathematical or scientific problem right now, it will take me minutes or even hours to solve that problem (not unless it's a very basic problem like addition, subtraction, etc. I still know those. hahaha). On the other hand, if you will ask me to name a person/s who inculcated many values and lessons in me, I'll be very quick to answer it.

What I'm trying to say, learning has different contexts. It can be in the form of learning from your own mistakes, learning from other's mistakes or learning from each other's experiences.

Finally, if you are to ask me my most rewarding experience so far, it would be finishing college despite all the hurdles that I encountered. Where I am right now, a lot of that I credit to God, to people I love and people who love me back.

Photo taken by Loren Zarate. (sorry for the poor quality hahaha)


Happy Birthday Sean!

Happy birthday to my friend since grade school and now a registered nurse - Chris Sean Tolentino Magisa!!! Thank you for being one of my best guy friends especially during our high school years (you knew my secret particularly that "letter" hahaha shhhhh). Let's still keep it a secret okay? :p

Anyway, I know you have a happy love life, a loving family (and of course, awesome friends hahaha) yet I still wish you nothing but the greatest things in this world :)

Photo from Sean's instagram (@chrissean08)

I hope we could spend more crazy, candid and hilarious moments in the years ahead. Happy birthday again!!! I love you more than I love Damon Salvatore (JOKE intended on the Damon part) hahaha but seriously, I love you my dear friend.

Circa 2010


Throwback Thursday: Palawan's KaLui Restaurant

When I went to Palawan months ago, one restaurant caught my attention so I wrote an article about it. The post below was lifted from the article I wrote when I was still working at TV5's online news site InterAksyon.com.

Here's the full and original article in case you missed it: "KaLui: A familiar Palawan resto still feels like home"

The famous restaurant's artful entrance

Tagged as the Philippines’ last frontier and where the famous Underground River is located, Palawan also has a sprinkling of local restaurants carrying the island theme. KaLui Restaurant is one familiar and most visited dining establishment that lets one soak up that exotic tropical atmosphere yet makes one instantly feel at home.

Located at 369 Rizal Avenue Puerto Princesa, Palawan, KaLui Restaurant is owned by 57-year old Luzerino Oliva. Locals and guests fondly call him Ka Lui (Brother Lui), thus the restaurant’s name.

A cozy and homey vibe of KaLui was what the owner wanted to achieve so the style and theme of the restaurant were inspired from traditional and native Filipino homes where bamboo materials and banig (woven mats) are used.

Customers could either dine by the usual tables or sit on the floor with cushions and low tables

KaLui Restaurant offers a variety of dishes from vegetables to different kinds of meat and seafood as its specialty. These includes Choice Catch (priced between Php160 to Php185), which is a selection of tuna steak, fish cordon bleu, shrimps, blue marlin, all served with veggies, and rice or camote fries.  Fresh seaweeds are served to customers as starters while mixed fresh fruits topped with muscovado sugar are served as a complimentary dessert.

Still craving for more? Then get side orders such as Shrimps Halabas or in Garlic Butter (Php 170), tuna sashimi (Php170), Stingray in coco cream (Php150), Crispy Fish Tail (Php350), or ask for the day’s harvest of lobsters or crabs cooked the way you ilke it. When it comes to the main meal, first-time visitors are recommended to try the “KaLui Special of the Day Set.” The set meal (Php395), good for two-three persons, includes fish steak, prawns, veggies of the day, chili crabs, rice, and starters.

Crispy fish tail. Photo source: www.kaluirestaurant.com

KaLui is just as much of a visual feast, too, as it is a haven for those who like to indulge in fresh seafoods. Here, you can also fill your eyes with different artworks like photographs, paintings and sculptures. Ka Lui is a lover of art, especially paintings made by local artists.

The restaurant also serves up a visual feast through Ka Lui's collection of paintings by local artists.

KaLui Restaurant has been serving locals and tourists for 22 years already. Due to its notable food and warm ambiance, it became well-known in Puerto Princesa. Some tourists would proudly recommend to their friends to visit the restaurant. 

Next time you’re in Palawan, check out KaLui. For reservations: landline: (+048) 433 2580; mobile no. 0947-7617191 or 0948-7232522. Or, e-mail: kalui.restaurant@yahoo.com


A sacred, scenic place

Does the image below ring a bell?

If you thought that's the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, you're wrong. The image above is the Risen Christ statue situated at the the edge of the hill at Monasterio de Tarlac.

Who would have thought that a sacred and at the same time a scenic place can be found at the landlocked province of Tarlac? I hail from the province of Tarlac and it makes me proud that a place like the Monasterio is just few hours drive from my hometown.

Aside from the statue, this castle-like place at Monasterio de Tarlac is a must see!

Church visits and praying are best done with the family. :)


TALES OF A FOODIE: "K-Poplike" dinner

Snippets from our dinner at Ilmi Korean Restaurant located in Korean Town, Friendship Highway, Angeles, Pampanga. (via instagram)

Attendance shots. Photo from Mark's instagram (@tabsuki)

Collated group shot. Photo from Mark's instagram (@tabsuki)
Photo from Bremn's instagram (@fahmfolfee)
Photo from Yvette's instagram (@notsoyammy)
I don't actually do food reviews here in my blog because supposedly the purpose of this blog is just to create an account of what I love to do, where I go and so on but I should probably work on doing some (good) food reviews later on. Plus, I have to work on my palate too because just like what I keep on saying, I LOVE food so it seems that every food tastes delicious (not to mention the food that I totally dislike). hahaha :)))

Food: 7 out of 10

We ordered 2 set menu (700 per set) and a 250 worth of pork meal. I think it was worth it for the 8 of us because we all had a full stomach after eating (especially the boys, they have a strong appetite yet they were all satisfied). The soup, vegetables and side dishes served taste good but not great (Good news: refillable soup, veggies and side dishes). The pork was tender and tasty.

Ambiance:  5 out of 10

The place is not as cozy as the other places I've been before. Smoking is allowed inside so for a non-smoker like me, it's a bit undesirable.

Service: 7 out of 10

The waitresses are very welcoming and alert. They are also the ones who grilled the meat for us.


#AngSarapMabuhay Moment No. 3

After almost 3 months, I'm finally reunited with my former workmates! I missed these girls so much! (It's just sad that we're not complete tonight)

Ebi Tempura, Tori Brown Rice Nabe and Gyoza at Teriyaki Boy


Double Celebration at its Best!

Two reasons why there is a need to celebrate today: first, Loren's post-birthday celebration and second, she passed the January 2013 Pharmacist Licensure Examination! YAHOOOOO!!! Congratulations my friend! I AM SOOOO PROUD OF YOU! You really deserve it. I can attest how determined you are just to pass the exam. Finally, your efforts paid off and all the saints and churches you visited, heard and answered your prayer. This is one of the best gifts for your birthday!

Now I know why my fingers suddenly felt the urge to text and meet you earlier - a double celebration indeed! Thank you for the sumptuous dinner emo friend! Again, happy birthday and congratulations! :)

Meet Loren Pineda Zarate RPh (nakssssssss)..

Mozzarella Fritto (fried breaded mozzarella logs with pomodoro sauce), Spaghetti Alio Oglio (rich garlic and olive oil sauce), Amici Pizza topped with spinach, pepperoni and cheese

Gelato cakes: Peach Walnut Obsession, Di Lusso and Choco Sansrival

repost from Yamyam's instagram


Happy Birthday Emo Friend!

If there's one friend whom I spent almost 3/4 of my life with, it would be Loren. From preschool (roughly 4 years old) to high school (16 years old) we've been classmates. When I say "classmates", I meant it as "walang palya". As in consistent talaga na magkasama kami sa iisang section.

When we were still kids. o dibaaaaa? I told you! hahaha
During our grade school years, we weren't that close yet. We started to become close when we were in high school. Honestly, Loren was and is STILL the kindest friend I have. Sa sobrang bait niya, maiinis ka na sakanya! Tinatarayan ko na nga lang siya minsan para naman maging palaban siya minsan. hahaha! Then come college, though we went to different universities, nothing has changed. And until now, we're still the same. Ayun ganun pa rin, parang nung high school lang. Mataba pa rin iya, payat pa rin ako. Nakakasawa na nga eh. hahaha joke lang emo labyuuuu!!!

Anyway, she was one of my FIRST EVER travel buddies!! If you want to have a travel buddy, I suggest siya ang kaladkarin niyo! Never a dull moment with her and I SWEAR galante yaaaaaan. :))))

Boracay (2010) and Baguio (2012)
Happy happy birthday emo friend!!! I am SOOOOO grateful we're very good friends! Thank you for being patient with me especially during my tantrums and mood swings. hahaha. Thank you for being nice to me and my family. You know how much I love you and your family as well. You never fail to make me feel welcome whenever I'm at your house. Thank youuuuuu!!!

You somehow made me laugh when you requested to write this birthday blog post in the most beautiful  and touching way. You're the very first person to do that. hahaha. But you know what, there's no need to do so because this page isn't enough to tell everyone how proud and thankful I am to be your friend!

Happy birthday again emo/loren/whe/wei/putut!!!! Can't wait to pig out, travel and get lost again with you! :))


Throwback: 2012 Movies I've Seen

Before 2012 started, I wrote several things on my list of  for 2012 that I have to achieve and one of those is to watch at least 8 movies (either international or local).

WATCH AT LEAST 8 MOVIES - and you're off my list!I guess I deserve a "sobra saliente" remark for myself because I watched a total of 30 movies!!! yahooooo!!! *clapssssss* This just shows how much I love watching movies (third to travelling and food).

Soooooo.. drum roll please. hahaha. Here is a rundown of the movies I've seen in 2012.


Of course I did not forget our local film industry. I am patriotic. ehemmmm. :)))



Happy Birthday Tita Rhi!

Happy happy birthday to my tita Ria who is not just a tita to me but also a friend, a sister, my legal guardian, pseudo-mother et al. :))))

Thanks ta Rhi for always being there for me. When I say "being there", I mean it literally because you were the ones attending my school events, parent-teacher meeting way back high school. hahahaha!! Thanks for that! Also, thank you for always listening to my complaints, my rants, or any of my stories, may they be dramatic, hilarious or senseless. And my most favorite part of our conversations is whenever we talk ala "critique" hahahaha (oooppssss mean mode). BUT as a defense mechanism, I'd say we are just telling the truth. :)))

My birthday wish??? Hmmm. of course LOVELIFE!!! hahaha hope the man of your dreams will come already (pota a-unahan daka pa joke hahahaha) HAPPY BIRTHDAY TA RHI!!! Looking forward to more chikahan and adventures with you!!!  <3 <3 <3