Tuesday, September 27, 2016

LIFE | Spring cleaning

One of the things I value most about my lifestyle now is my mobility. I love the fact that if I so choose, I can easily uproot myself and move to wherever part of the country or the world I want to go at any given time. All my belongings would fit in two balikbayan boxes, maybe less. Well, that does not include the washing machine, but if I ever decide to move, I'll just sell it along with my mattress (yup, no bed - and that's perfectly fine with me).
Bye bye bye excess stuff
Staying in cramped dorm rooms and tiny apartments in my early working years forced me to let go of the things I didn't really need to live; there simply wasn't enough space to accommodate wants along with the needs. I'm lucky that, in 2013, I found the condo I'm in now. I'm sharing it with some friends (a la Friends, HAHA!), and the best thing about it is space, space, space.

When I first moved, I started to acquire belongings because finally, storage was no longer an issue. I didn't make any major home-related purchases - I didn't need to since the apartment's already fully furnished - but I hoarded on books, books, and some more books. And maybe some clothes and shoes, but mostly books. Haha!
So difficult to let go! :(
The longer you stay in one place, the more sh*t you acquire - sh*t you don't really need, or some sh*t you only really needed for a while but can't seem to get rid of. You start to get attached to things, and the next thing you know, you're drowning in so much stuff.

As much as I love my books, the sheer number of them eventually became a threat to my mobility (a.k.a. my freedom), so I decided to let go. So with a heavy heart, I decided it was time to sell the books that I won't read anymore. Along with that, I got rid of the clothes and shoes I don't wear and the bags I don't use (this part was easy).

I sold a lot of my stuff for really low prices, which I don't mind. It's not about making money - it was about getting rid of the clutter. The goal was to once again be able to fit all my stuff in two balikbayan boxes. And after that awesome garage sale series with Mai and Kate, plus some Facebook selling, I'm back to my mobile self!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

LIFE | #FightLikeAGirl

My friends Gab and Don of DojoDrifter, the #1 MMA website in the Philippines, recently launched Fight Like A Girl - and although I didn't make it to the kick-off event last September 15 in Functional Fitness in The Podium (thank you, Metro Manila traffic, GRRRR!), this project gets support from me because it's a campaign that empowers women to fight abuse, oppression, and disparity.
Paui (in the gi)! :)
(photo from Dojo Drifter)
When I was a kid, I hated being told that I do things "like a girl" - be it playing basketball, running, target shooting, or any other sport or physical activity. I hated it when the boys in the neighborhood wouldn't let me join them just because I'm a girl. There was actually a time when I got into a fight because one kid made the mistake of not treating me as an equal; I landed three solid punches that left his face bloodied, and that's how I finally got some respect from the kids my age.

I didn't grow up to become one of those "Burn the Bra!" feminists, but I turned out to be quite the fighter. Long before boxing, jiu-jitsu, knife-fighting, or arnis, I have been fighting every day - for my place at the table that seats only men. In the corporate world, I tried to fight the way men did and constantly lost in the process.

It took a while for me to realize and embrace my own strengths, but when I did, being told that I "fight like a girl"  is no longer a diss - it's actually a compliment, or even a sign of respect. And I also started making real strides in my career (which I eventually left behind to pursue other passions, but that's another story. Haha!).

The launch event of #FightLikeAGirl featured basic self-defense seminars led by martial artists from different teams and disciplines. I saw from the pictures that a lot of women attended the event, and I'm glad more of us are stepping up to be empowered. We all need to learn how to get out of dangerous situations, or if it comes to it, we have to learn how to fight.

Props to Gab, Don, and the rest of the Dojo Drifter Team for this awesome campaign!


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

FIRSTS | Impromptu salon treat

All my friends know that I don't care about my hair. I don't brush my hair when I'm just working from home, and when I do step out, chances are I'll still forget to do that. To illustrate my point, allow me to share this conversation between me and my dear friend, Alfred, a few months back:
Me: Alfred! I met someone!
Alfred: Magsuklay ka.  
Yup, it's that bad. HAHA! Anyway, I was in Commercenter yesterday for a meeting. Because I was worried that I might get stuck in traffic, I went there early. A little too early - 1.5 hours before my scheduled meeting! That's too short a time to catch a movie but too long to spend in a restaurant, so I walked into Fringe Salon.

I thought about getting a trim - I figured that they'll have to blow dry my hair to make me look decent for my meeting (yup, I forgot to comb my hair before leaving the house). I didn't want any sort of treatment because those things usually take forever, and I'm too restless a child to sit through an hour of someone fixing my hair. 

When I walked in, I told the lady at the reception that I'm there for a trim, and then she offered me this 15-minute treatment for color-damaged hair (I guess she noticed that my hair needed saving, haha!). She quoted Php1,850 for my shoulder-length hair. I was ready to walk away (because I'm kuripot, haha!) when she said that the package comes with a home care product that will extend the effect for up to four weeks. I did the math, and that's Php370 per week for five weeks of great hair.

So I went for it, and I'm very glad I did! :)
They make you wear a satin robe pa talaga, love it! :)
P.S. I almost fell asleep. I love salon shampoos!
So this is it - the Milbon treatment. The steps are numbered so you don't get confused.
This I got to bring home. I'm supposed to use one vial per week.
First, the treatment really did take only 15 minutes, which meant I had time for some ramen at Sigekiya before my meeting! Woohoo! The treatment is called Linkage Meu, and it's developed by Milbon, a Japanese hair care brand. It's a four-step treatment, but it doesn't take long because you don't need to let it sit for hours on end - it's as easy as apply, rinse, repeat, and of course it ends with blow drying. 
Apply, rinse, repeat - it's really simple and easy!
And the next thing I know, Alex was already blow drying my hair! It's really quick!
All other hair treatments I've had before took too so much of my time (especially rebonding, my goodness!), so it's really surprising that Linkage Meu was so quick and yet the results were amazing! My hair was in really bad shape before I stepped in - not from too much styling but from too little care (sniff) - but all it took for the treatment to work is 15 freaking minutes. I looked like a got a head transplant! 
And TA-DA!!!! With Alex, who took care of me there! :)
My hair looks like human hair now, WOOOOOW
Fringe Salon is located in Commercenter (ground floor) in Filinvest City, Alabang. I was there on a Monday so they had room for me when I walked in, but if you plan to go on a weekend, you may want to set an appointment just to be sure. You can contact them on Facebook if you want to inquire. Aside from the Linkage Meu treatment that I got, they also offer hair coloring, mani-pedi, and other salon services. And I have to say the prices surprised me - the place is so nice and swanky, but the prices of the treatments are actually pretty good! Check them out if you're in the south! :)


Thursday, September 15, 2016

WELLNESS | Recovery takes forever now

Alcohol was never really something my body agreed with. Although I appreciate a glass of full-bodied Malbec or an ice-cold bottle of beer (local favorites are San Miguel Pale Pilsen and Cerveza Negra, but Blue Moon has my heart) every now and then, I really don't like getting drunk. I don't like the heavy feeling, and I don't like that I turn red as a tomato after a couple of bottles (I'm one of those people who get the "Asian flush").
The Culprit
And the part that I dislike most is recovery. When I was younger, no matter how drunk I got, all I really had to do to recover was to sleep - I only needed three to four hours and I would function the next day like nothing happened. There was even a crazy week with Jerry and AR some years back - we'd start drinking at 8pm, finish at 3am, get to our jobs at 8am, and meet up again at 8pm for more alcohol.

It was an insane time. If my liver could talk, I'm sure it would have screamed a slew of expletives at me then.

My age caught up with me eventually, and I really felt the hit. To recover from a night out, I would need at least eight full hours of sleep. And even then, I couldn't function 100% at work - I'd be really sluggish. It takes me about two or three days (depending on the actual alcohol I chugged down) to get back to normal. This impacted my productivity, and even my mood when I was in the office.

So I decided to stop drinking. It wasn't really difficult - like I said earlier, my body doesn't agree with alcohol - but it was a bit challenging to say no to friends who are used to getting a "yes" from me. I managed to do it, though, and that's something I'm actually quite proud of.
Fun with the kids!
Don't get me wrong - I still enjoy the occasional night out. The DEFTAC Manila Team recently had two crazy night outs a week apart from each other, and I DIED. Haha! I couldn't give my best at training because I really wasn't in shape to train in the days that followed, and I don't like that.
Tita Gimik
Recovery takes so much longer than it used to (and I mean that in everything - from long work days to rigorous training), so I'll stick with coffee or dinner or yogurt "gimmicks" for now. I'm embracing Titahood, haha! My body isn't what it used to be, and I'm okay with that.

P.S. Some people say that drinking takes practice - but whether or not that's true, it's not something I'd like to get good at.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

LIFE | On the mats, you're a student

A guy messaged our team's Facebook page to inquire about the rates, which were already published on the Info section. I directed him there, and because of that, he called me out as lazy for not typing in the answer to his question. He said that we should do our best to be accommodating to "customers," and that's when I lost it. I took off my social media manager hat and put on my proverbial gi to defend the house.

"Customer." He is technically correct - after all, the dictionary definition of customer is a person or organization that buys goods or services from a store or a business (thank you, Google!). He was right to insist that for as long as people pay, they're customers. What he fails to realize, however, is that money ceases to be a currency that matters the moment you enter a dojo and step on the mats.

When you show up for jiu-jitsu, you are not a customer even when you pay - because the dojo is not a restaurant where you order all the food you want or can afford. In the dojo, the master passes on skills, knowledge, and maybe even wisdom, and he will not be able to accomplish so if the students think and act like they're customers to be served.
We have a different currency here.
Jiu-jitsu is a lot like school (but better and cheaper, haha!) - although you pay tuition to enroll, you don't really consider yourself a customer when you walk in the classroom, do you? You're there to learn whatever you can from your professor, someone who knows more than you, who won't serve you a burger with cheese fries on the side and a large Coke.

The dojo is sacred, and the mats, hallowed grounds. The currency is respect, not money. On the mats, you earn respect when you show up on time and ready to train; when you're willing to work your ass off, no matter how challenging the techniques are; when you keep going, even when your arms and legs are all bruised up; and when you're eager to learn, whether from your coach or from other students in class.

So I told the guy that we're not looking for customers, but for students. He went on to suggest that I learn marketing, to which I replied that I would if he learned some manners. Hug an iceberg, Mr. Customer.

P.S. Thought about posting this under "Wellness," but the lesson here goes beyond the mats and way after training hours. So I tagged it under "Life" instead.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

LIFE | Happy birthday, Pops!

So my Dad turned the big six-o yesterday and we all know what that means - 20% off on everything! Haha! We had dinner in The Aristocrat along Marcos Highway. Nothing fancy - just a wholesome Pinoy meal (with extra rice, yo!) - but just like our last family dinner in Ippudo for my brother's birthday last June, this was a truckload of fun.
Kuya Photobomber is asking for a SUB!
Because my Dad is one of the corniest people in the Universe, I think his Dad Jokes started way before he actually became a Dad to my brother and me. But I guess they weren't called Dad Jokes until my brother was conceived. I usually whine, "Daaaaaaaaaaaad" whenever he cracks one, but I still end up laughing because his jokes are so bad, they're actually pretty good.

Here's one from his birthday last night:
Erroll: Medyo na-spoil nga yun nung bata. (He was spoiled as a kid.)
Dad: Kaya pala amoy panis. (So that's why he smells rotten.)
To anyone complaining about my so-called sense of humor, please blame my Dad. I got it all from him! Haha!

I secretly ordered a petite Torta delos Reyes, with a birthday candle on top. When the restaurant staff served it, Dad was really caught off-guard! He didn't expect the candle because he didn't notice anyone order it, and that must have kept him from uttering a Dad Joke about it. His eyes were a bit watery, too! So cute! :)

Happy birthday, Daddy! Love you! :)


Thursday, August 18, 2016

ADVENTURES | People left a trace :(

Last June, I joined the company outing of Stratminds. Although I'm only a freelancer, Lendro was kind enough to extend to me an invitation. I never say no to an opportunity to drive away from the craziness of the city, so of course I said yes. It's a shame that I got my period the moment we got there - which meant I spent the entire afternoon of our first day there pinned to the bed, unable to move because of the pain.

With the help of medication, I felt a little better towards the evening. I was able to join the tail-end of the discussion, and then dinner. I even had a bottle of beer; I don't usually drink, but Lendro said it will help with the cramps so I gave it a try. It did help, and the following morning, I felt so much better. Especially when I woke up to this:
At the very least, it was quiet. We had the place to ourselves.
That morning, our scheduled activity was "island hopping," although we didn't technically go to separate islands - we actually just went around the coast of Calatagan. Which was okay - simply being out on sea was enough for me. I took deep, relaxed breaths of the fresh morning air, and although I couldn't swim (no tampons, huhu), I was having a good time soaking in the view and getting unevenly tanned.
From afar
Like a boss
But the experience went a bit awry when we stopped at one beach to have lunch and I saw trash. TRASH. Basura. Lots of it. Left behind by irresponsible campers. Plastic bags. Food packaging. Tissue paper. And what made it worse was that a lot of the trash got to the water, so in some parts of the journey, our boat was cutting through garbage.
This made me furious!
I was enraged that they left a trace. You're not supposed to leave a trace. When you climb a mountain or go to the beach or go to any place to be close to nature, you make memories, take photographs, and LEAVE NO TRACE. It's basic etiquette and I am appalled that there are people who just don't seem to get it. Everyone needs to learn how to take care of the environment - and the most basic thing they can contribute is to not pollute it!
I don't think I'll ever head back to this part of Calatagan again; seeing all that garbage in the water really left me quite traumatized. I had a good time, though, thanks to good company and good food. And there are some pictures in my head and in my phone where the trash wasn't there, so I'll just edit the memories and look back only on the good ones. But I do hope that the government does something about it.