Summer Knitting

Yesterday, I knitted while having lunch and coffee at Summer Cafe in Coron. It was a ray of sunshine amidst the gloomy day.  

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I ordered the cheesy omelette and americano. It was a delicious combination!

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For dessert, I headed to Pedro’s Gelato, a local ice cream joint in Coron. 

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I had the ube langka and mango sorbet. It was so good!

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Then, I visited the mangrove forest near the Maquinit Hot Springs. 

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It was fun to knit, be my foodie self, and explore nature all one day. Hope to have more memories with the things that make me happy.  

Coron Adventure

Yesterday, I conquered my fears of the open water and narrow caves. Coron brought out the adventurer in me and I enjoyed it. Here are some photos proving that my fitness journey is all worth it.

Here’s to more tours with Mother Nature to come!

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Black Saturday 2018

I began my Black Saturday with a workout and a hearty breakfast. 

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I posed by the townhouses near our hotel which resemble the San Francisco houses in Lola and the Boy Next Door.  

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On our way home, we passed by the Calamba Rizal Shrine. I am a Rizal fan, so this felt like a homecoming. 

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The Php1 coin I was holding was a tribute to my idol, as he is featured on the currency. 

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Rizal had a dog!

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We also dropped by the church where Rizal was baptized. 

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It was located right next to his house. 

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That was a fun visit!

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My family and I had late lunch at Mom and Tina’s. Their Shepherd’s Pie is still so good after all these years!

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I enjoyed reconnecting with my idol and eating delicious food. What a way to celebrate the Holy Week break. I look forward to more memorable moments in sentimental places. 

Good Friday 2018

Yesterday, I got to unwind in Batangas with my family. I started my day with my usual workout. 

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After which, I had breakfast at our hotel’s cafe.  

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The egg white omelette and cinnamon rolls were my favorites! 

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I had local coffee of course. Then, I cleaned up and went to Montemaria for some Holy Week reflection. 

I knitted on the way there.  

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Finally, I saw Our Lady. She was breathtaking.  

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We visited other churches as well during our fime here, and had dinner at the hotel. 

This Asian Spicy Fusilli was divine.  

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So was this blueberry cheesecake! 

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I worked out before bedtime, just because. 

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My view while doing cardio wasn’t too shabby!

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I had a productive day combining prayer, balanced eating, and working out. It was a nice vacation in the country. I look forward to more meaningful breaks on special occasions. 

Revisiting Padre Pio Shrine

Yesterday, I got to visit the Padre Pio Shrine For the second time. This time, I was with my family. 

I started my day with a breakfast takoyaki rice bowl. It was surprisingly delicious! 

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I knitted in the car.  

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And before I knew it, we were already there at the shrine. I purchased a magnet for my collection and a bottle of pain relief oil for a friend. 

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We walked along the Shrine and prayed at the various spots in the compound. My favorite spot there was at the main church, where this huge sign serves as a reminder for everyone. 

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The place holds a special spot in my heart because Padre Pio is a powerful intercessor. His life is also a shining example of the transforming ability of faith. 

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Indeed, I will pray, hope, and remind myself to don’t worry!

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I also bought personalized keychains from this fun stall. 

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I feel blessed to have revisited the Shrine and I am thankful that this time, I am stronger in faith. I will keep on going, because I am confident that Padre Pio will always pray for my intentions. 

Fitness Goals at Banaue

I am now back at Manila, but my heart is still in Banaue. Looking back on my trip gives me joy as I recall all the happy memories during that trip. My group may have only spent three days there, but it felt like we stayed there longer because we did plenty of things together. I am grateful to have met new friends among the locals and within my tour group. I feel blessed that Knitting Expedition has organized a special tour to the rice terraces. It was truly worth it!

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Working out is already part of my lifestyle. While I did not prepare for this trip in particular, I did find myself enjoying my daily brisk walks at a nearby park. I also continued doing Zumba and cardio exercises at home. Keeping fit has enabled me to survive the trip with ease.  

As I share with you these photos taken during my last day at this magical place, I hope that you too will be inspired to travel to a destination you have always wanted to visit. I hope that you will also integrate exercise into your daily life. And while there is no way to determine which destination will truly bring you joy, I hope that you will find that special venue which could reignite your dreams and inspire you to envision a better life for yourself. 

When I was still planning for this trip, the few people who knew about it worriedly asked me if I was doing this to find myself. It is a popular travel theme after all. While I do not question people who travel for this reason, I have made it clear from the start that I did not go to Banaue to find myself. I was a research assistant to Mitzie Icasiano more than a decade ago, and it was because of her studies in Ifugao culture that I found fascination, innate joy, and yes, I found myself. I already did that many years ago. This trip is merely a realization of a longtime desire to see Ifugao culture up close, and what better way to do that than through a tour which supports the local knitting community and tourism industry.  

These photos of me with the majestic Banaue Rice Terraces were taken as a tribute to the rich Ifugao culture, and the joy I found in studying it. By keeping fit and enjoying the whole tour, I was able to realize my dream to travel to Banaue. And by becoming my own “fitspiration”, I kept myself going. 

I hope that you too will find your Banaue. May your heart be filled with happiness beyond this month of love, and may the coming years be kind to all of us. May God bless us all. 

Banaue Day 3 Part 2: Banaue Town and Fire Station

We spent our last day at Banaue exploring the town center for lunch and shopping. Our group went to Las Vegas Restaurant, a local favorite of backpackers. 

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While waiting for my order, I decided to explore the nearby shops and buy some necklaces to add to my collection.  

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I bought these necklaces and earrings featuring Ifugao artistry. The knife necklace is a souvenir for my best friend.  

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The earrings reminded me of Polly Pocket toys! 

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I started my meal with coffee.  

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And then I devoured the Las Vegas Rice, which is similar to chicken adobo. It was delicious! 

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After finishing my lunch, I headed out again to buy ice cream from a nearby store. I chanced upon betel nut packs which the locals chew. I did not try it but I found the merchandising fascinating.  

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I bought local chocolate and cookies and cream (not pictured) ice cream. I also bought this and another magnet to add to my collection.  

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We then proceeded to my favorite part, shopping! 

I always like seeing corner bakeries and this was no exception.  

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I also had photos taken with my roommates Rocelle and Vivi.  

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While Vivi was shopping for textiles, Rocelle fulfilled my childhood dream of having photos taken on a fire truck! 

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After buying a textile bag and a few more trinkets, I suggested that we all have coffee at a bakery which our guide Ate Jean recommended.  

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It was located near this viewpoint facing the Banaue town proper.  

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We then settled down and of course, I selected their bestsellers, donut and banana bread.  

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It was the best banana bread I have ever had! 

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After freshening up, we then hiked to the information center where the buses to Manila load passengers. I was seated comfortably and before I knew it, the zigzag roads have lulled me to sleep.  

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We then stopped over at Nueva Vizcaya, where I had a light dinner of kikiam, siomai, and hotdog 

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I reached Manila safely at almost 3AM. It was a fantastic trip which I will remember for the rest of my life! 

Sam's Singapore

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Singapore for me is an easy place to unwind and relax. As an urbanite, I find more tranquility in city noise and busyness. Being on holiday amidst a progressive and modern city is my kind of paradise. Here are a few vacation tips I have if you are planning to visit SG. 

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1. Go to the library@orchard for a free! If you are a bibliophile like me, you will definitely enjoy spending hours reading in this gorgeous space known for its wave-shaped bookshelves. There are also comfortable seats and nooks for you to plug your gadgets and your mind. 

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2. There are ice cream uncles selling cheap ice cream sandwiches for only SG$1.20. My favorite flavors are durian and mint chocolate chip. Do ask uncle to serve it in bread. 

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3. If you like quality stationery, drop by Kikki.K at iON Orchard for Swedish-designed leather notebooks, planners, paper, and office supplies. You will fall in love with the simplicity of each piece. You will find yourself eager to plan ahead with their planners and paper inserts. 

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4. Never skip a visit to the National Museum. The story of Singapore is creatively told for each visitor to understand the determination of this island nation to succeed amidst insurmountable challenges. 

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5. Another museum worth visiting is the National Gallery. You will be blown away by its extensive collection of definitive exhibitions featuring the best of Southeast Asian art. Do appreciate the beautiful architectural details as well which can be found all throughout the gallery.

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6. Take the MRT! It is reliable, safe, and easy to grasp via Google maps. Singaporeans are also helpful and polite so do not hesitate to ask questions if you need directions or assistance with train stations and lines. 

7. If you are too exhausted to take the MRT, you may also ride a car using Uber and Grab.

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8. Do workout everyday and walk as much as you can! 

9. It is advisable to exercise the day after landing home to ensure that all the delicious food from your vacation is efficiently burned.  

10. Do unpack immediately to effectively transition yourself to your life back home. 

Those were my tips for making your SG holiday memorable. If you get tired, you may want to chill out with a cup of Kopi (coffee with evaporated milk) which can be found along any hawker food hall or food republic court. Make the most out of each moment and just enjoy yourself in SG! 

Breakfast Matters

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I enjoy eating breakfast so much because it energizes me throughout my day. It is also a requirement for me to eat breakfast forty-five minutes after I take my thyroxine hormone tablet. Because of this, the first meal of the day has become an important part of my lifestyle. I build my meals around the first one I have, and I tend to indulge in it the most because I usually have it after I workout.

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The past three days have been special because I have been eating breakfast at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore. I workout every morning at the hotel gym so I am starving by the time I reach the buffet. This is the best breakfast buffet I have ever had. My favorites are the matcha muffin, pancakes with condensed milk, lor mee, cheese, and teh tarik. 

It is awesome to have fancy breakfasts every one in a while. I do hope I can get a job soon so I can have breakfast at an office again. For now, I am enjoying my last brekkie here. I look forward to more filling mornings to come. 

library@orchard

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I am thrilled to have explored one of the branches of Singapore's National Library here at Orchard Gateway. I am stunned by the flowing architecture of this space. It is conducive for reading, writing, and just plain hanging out. I am inspired by the openness of this place. 

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Commuting Alone

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I enjoy commuting alone because it keeps my mind free to think of things that matter like this blog or my jobhunting. Unlike driving, commuting gives me a sense of being one with the collective. I find joy in going places faster. Singapore's MRT system is modern and efficient. Having experienced the country's convenient public transport was a memorable break from the horrendous commute I have back home.  

Slinky Friday

I justness finished my visit at We're the Furballs, the popular dog cafe here in Singapore. I had a lovely time with all the dogs, especially with Slinky the dachshund. She's so soft and silky! It was worth the train ride. I am so thankful to my friend Addy for recommending this to me🐶! 

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Eat That Ice Cream!

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I am currently on vacation and I worked out this afternoon so I can EAT! I decided not to deprive myself during this trip. Yes, I had the ice cream that my heart has been set on for so long. I had durian ice cream from a sidewalk vendor along Orchard Road. It was so good! And also, I had the corn ice cream twirl at McDonald's. It was refreshingly satisfying. Vacations should be enjoyed. Just like my ice cream, which I devoured before it even melted.  

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Keeping You Posted

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Today, we got to explore the Fullerton Hotel, which was formerly the main post office of Singapore. Now, it is a lovely hotel with a charming vintage charm. It is also the gateway to another destination of ours, the Merlion Park. I have decided to make the most out of my vacation. I may not have much right now, but I can totally live in the moment and that is surely the best thing about making life beautiful.