Lessons I Learned Away From Home

Friday, December 04, 2015

Living away miles away from home is a big step for myself for many reasons. Personally, I’ve been through phases of emotions when I first moved out of Cagayan de Oro City, but eventually I realized it was the best thing I’ve ever done. The lessons I learned when I’m alone are the lessons I could use for the rest of my life.  Here are 7 things only people who live away from home can understand.
1. YOU START VALUING MONEY AND APPRECIATE WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE. It’s funny when you’ve spent too much on something; you also spend the rest of the month never leaving your apartment. LOL. It’s a good thing that you become more aware of money and when not to spend it.
2. YOU REALIZE THAT YOUR HOMETOWN IS MUCH CLOSER TO YOUR HEART THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT. You learn to appreciate just how much you enjoy being around your family, even if you didn’t realize it when you were living with them. You miss the random jokes at the dinner table. You actually just miss having them at the dinner table.
3. YOU BECOME MORE RESPONSIBLE. When you live alone, you develop a biological alarm clock that reminds you to do important things. It doesn’t exist initially, but it grows over time, and when it does, you end up being proud of yourself.
4. YOU BECOME INDEPENDENT AND LEARN TO ENJOY BEING ALONE. The silence is disturbing at first, and you may find it difficult to get used to. Eventually, you learn to embrace the silence and learn that being alone is time for you to spend with yourself.
5. YOU LEARN TO SELF MOTIVATE. You’re your own best friend. With no one to tell you what to do, it’s easy to get carried away, but you find a way to motivate yourself to get out of bed and do work. When you do end up being productive, you feel good about yourself.
6. YOU LEARN TO SOLVE YOUR OWN PROBLEMS. When you’re faced with difficulty, you seem to muster up strength you never knew you had. Only when you live alone do you realize that you’re actually stronger than you realized when dealing with stressful situations.
7. YOU HOLD ON TO THINGS LESS TIGHTLY. You become good at letting go of things and moving on, which is a big part of growing up.
I guess growing up is not when we start speaking about big things, it’s when we start to appreciate the small things.
Photo by: Bea Simagala

Celebrate Birthdays at Bigby's

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

There are tons of ways to celebrate your birthday. The classic way to celebrate birthdays in the Philippines is when celebrants choose to whip up their specialties and fill the whole dining table with the classic fried chicken, lechon, spaghetti, the pansit for long life (ahhh, classic!), and perhaps a bowl of tapioca or fruit salad and so much more. 


Buuut, there are also others, like my family, opt to enjoy a stress-free birthday and dine in their favorite restaurants. Ever since I was a kid, Bigby's is one of my favorite food place to feast during birthdays.
As you may all know, or may not know, I've been in Cebu for quite a while already, which means I got to celebrate my birthday this year away from home. And, just a week ago, my friends prepared a late birthday surprise for me and there's no other place that crossed my mind to go binge eating with them than at Bigby's in Ayala Center Cebu. 
I have to admit, I've been feeling a bit homesick lately but good thing there's also a Bigby's branch here in Cebu. True to their tag line, "Come home to Bigby's", it's always a delightful feeling of being close to home whenever I dine in there either with family or with friends.



With their wide-range menu extending from burgers, salads, pastas, to their famous baby back ribs, celebrating in Bigby's is not only luxurious, but is just as festive and memorable.
Not only is their food great, but the service is also good. Their staff will be happy to sing you a happy birthday song and will give you a small surprise! *winks*
May it be here in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, or in General Santos City, Bigby's is conveniently found inside malls, so that after you enjoy a scrumptious meal in Bigby's, you may proceed to do other errands, stop by at the supermarket, or continue celebrating your special day through pampering yourself.


Shoutout to my blogger friends (From L to R: MimiRamCarlo, and Katherinefor the awesome surprise! 

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Visit Bigby's Café & Restaurant at the following branches: (1) SM City CDOG/F (2) Centrio Mall G/F, Centrio Garden (3) Ayala Center Cebu, 3rd level, The Terraces (4) SM City Cebu, 2nd level, The Northwing (5) Abreeza Mall, 2nd level, Davao City (6) SM City Davao G/F (7) Veranza KCC Mall G/F, General Santos City

The Giving Journal 2016

Saturday, November 07, 2015

One thing I don’t like about myself is I have the tendency to get things disorganized, that’s why resorting to a planner is my best option to help me keep track of my events, meetings, and other activities.

24 October 2015, CBTL Ayala Center Cebu– The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf launched its #TheGivingJournal2016 Planner with a fun watercolor workshop, and I was one of the lucky few to witness the flavorful event!
Every year, in the months leading to the holiday season, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf releases its sought-after Giving Journal helping the Real LIFE Foundation, the Giving Journal’s beneficiary, by supporting the educational needs of the less fortunate. And every year, the company makes it a goal to create something better than the last, constantly evolving the journal to share the company’s passion for GIVING, SHARING, and COMMUNITY.
This coming 2016, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf hopes to “GIVE FLAVORFULLY” in ways that can warm the soul as much as the body. The Giving Journal is designed to inspire each individual to pursue their passions and find meaning and fulfillment in everyday moments, while at the same time providing them with the opportunities to give back by helping others. Evidently, The Giving Journal is certainly not your ordinary planner; it is a gift where the joy of giving and receiving it lasts well past the holiday season.


How to get The Giving Journal 2016?
To get the 2016 Giving Journal, all you need to do is to get the Giving Journal Card with your purchase of any CBTL drinks and collect 12 stamps (1 original Iced-blended, 1 Tea Latte, 1 Holiday Drink, 1 Coffee/ Espresso Based Beverage, 8 drinks of your choice) from October 23, 2015- January 10, 2016. The Giving Journal can be claimed beginning October 23, 2015 until 60 days after the promo has ended.


The Giving Journal comes in 4 vibrant colors: tiffany blue, mustard yellow, violet and tan. I had mine in brown for 2015, so for this his year I picked the tiffany blue!


Visit The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at the following CDO branches: (1) Gateway Park, Limketkai Drive (2) G/F Centrio Ayala Mall, Capt. Vicente Roa St, Cagayan de Oro.

This Is Why Traveling Is More Fun With Friends

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Going on an adventure with your friends is an unpredictable trip that every person should experience at least once in his or her life. Exploring different places, conquering fears together, and discovering new perspectives ultimately progresses our relationships to levels never imagined possible.

How To Make The Most of Your Weekend

Friday, October 09, 2015

Life Hack Friday with The Chubby Buddy
It’s Friday! Which means weekend is just around the corner. I know that most of us treasure our weekends, but have you ever thought if we’re making the most of them? Or do you also often feel like you’re just wasting your weekends?
Whether it’s the weekend or a holiday, taking the “day off” gives you time to relax, revitalize, and prepare for the next workdays/schooldays. Instead of going out and spending your days off running errands, here are a few soothing ways or weekend hacks (or tips if you prefer lol) to give more time on your weekends.
WARNING: YOU MIGHT NOT LOVE THEM ALL. No real tricks here, but this is about you being aware of how you utilize your time to be productive and not let the days slip by.

#1 CATCH UP ON YOUR SLEEP. Sleep is vital for every human being. Never ever feel bad about sleeping or napping on your day off or on a weekend. If you have a job or have to go school where you need to stay up late and need to wake early the next day, you’re sleeping schedule can get a little messed up, which would eventually lead you to spending most of your days tired. If you have the day off, don’t set your alarm the night before. Allow yourself to enjoy the feeling of waking up to a no alarm kind of morning.
#2 DON’T OVER DRINK. It’s easy to have a bottle of one or two (3,4, or 5) on Friday and Saturday nights, but always consider that a large part of the next day would be lost. Not only do you sleep in late and go home dazed, but for the rest of the day things are a bit fuzzy (not to mention the major headache) and you basically choose to do nothing other than lay on the bed until late into the afternoon. Duh. Sure, a few social drinks would be fine and research has it that there are also health benefits of having 1-2 alcohol drinks/day, but know what a few is.
#3 CHANGE SCENERY. Noting can beat the feeling of spending a few hours at the beachfront either by yourself or with your barkada. My point is choose a location that’s not heavily populated so it’ll be quieter and less distracting. It’s nice to take a break sometime away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The ocean breeze and the sound of the waves can provide the relaxation you and your friends need.
#4 WAKE UP AT YOUR NORMAL WEEKDAY TIME. In contrast to what I have said in #1, know that this is also important because not only does this keep the same circadian rhythms of the rest of your week, but also makes it easier to fall asleep during the rest of the week since your are keeping the same schedule. Yes, catch up on your sleep, but don’t abuse it by sleeping too late at night and wake up late the next day. Wake up to a happy day and do something that you love. Well you have the freedom to choose what to do with your time and by making smart choices you can have more time doing what you really like.
#5 WORK UP A SWEAT. Exercise might be the last thing you want to do on a weekend, but exercise can improve your mental and emotional health and reduce stress. If you're overworked and overstressed, a good workout can balance your mood. You don’t have to do anything strenuous. Going for a bike ride, taking a walk in the park or swimming might be enough to reduce anxiety.
Carpe Diem!


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Last Saturday, my friends and I had this crazy idea of going on an adventure to climb the highest peak in Cebu­– Osmeña Peak. It rises 1,013 meters above sea level and is nestled between the southern towns of Dalaguete and Badian. Locally known as O’Peak, it offers a breathtaking view of the white coastline hugging the coral blue sea, jagged hills, and most of all the beautiful sunset and even sunrise if you opt to go camping overnight. It is a well-known trekking destination for locals. Even trekking enthusiasts from other provinces visit Cebu to experience the picturesque view of the countryside.


It took us about two hours from Cebu City to get to Dalaguete, which is known as the vegetable basket and summer capital of Cebu with its cool air and elevation. To get there, we took the bus at the South Bus Terminal from the main city. You can ask anyone from the terminal staff on what bus you should get on and never hesitate to approach the bus driver and tell him to drop you off at the Dalaguete junction.


Just like most trekkers, we took the route from the town’s junction. We rented a “habal-habal” (motorcycle for rent) to get to the foot of the mountain for Php200 per person. The whole trip took about 30 to 45 minutes so get ready for a butt-hurting habal-habal ride, but once you’re on the road, the scenic view of Mother Nature and the gush of fresh cool air would help keep your mind off the long trip. However, if you want to experience more adrenaline and adventure, you can get to the peak by hiking through the valleys and farmlands.
Upon reaching our destination, local children happily approached us and offered to be our tour guide on our way to peak. They work part time as tour guides after school for only Php50 to Php100.


We got there around 3:30PM and the weather was cool, foggy and windy. We were scared because we thought it was going to rain hard, but we’re glad it didn’t, which was also a good thing because it saved us from the scorching heat. The only problem was, the trail was muddy, slippery, and one can easily trip off if you’re not wearing the right shoes. It was just a short trek, more or less 30 minutes.




Upon reaching the top, I can say that it was all worth the hassle. We were rewarded with a cool breeze and the sight of unique rock formations. We decided to stay for a few minutes to enjoy the awesome view and of course, take photos.



Indeed, it was a great once in a lifetime experience. I’d be willing to go back to give it a second try but by that time, I’ll try to take the longer trek. So looking for a weekend getaway far from the hustle and bustle of the city? Or ever wanted to include trekking in your bucket list? Don’t forget to think of Osmeña Peak!

A big shout-out to Neil, Ron, Jochris, and Gian for being such kick-ass adventurers and for letting me join their trip. Thanks guys!


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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I’ve always thought that having a “good chemistry” only happens with people and not with food­– I’ve thought wrong.
I guess it’s understandable for one to say that ice cream is worth screaming for. However, to say that liquid nitrogen is worth screaming for, one could only expect an arching brow in response. You might ask who craves, or even think about liquid nitrogen? Would you even believe when one would say that liquid nitrogen ice cream is worth screaming for?


Make Your Trip to CDO More Fun with White Water Rafting

Thursday, September 03, 2015

(Photo by: Kristine Magadia)
I often encounter the question “what fun adventure can we experience in CDO?” from my friends outside Mindanao. Well, this city isn’t dubbed as the “City of Golden Friendship” and “Adventure Capital” of the Philippines for no reason. Aside from the distinctive friendliness of its folks, Cagayan de Oro’s much talked about whitewater rafting and river trekking adventures also make it the premier destination of the city.
Being an advocate of staycations, visiting CDO and experiencing the thrill of whitewater rafting should be on your bucket list. The CDO River will help you discover your inner strength and endurance as you paddle your way through the twists and turns of the challenging rapids.
So, if you think you’re set to experience an adrenaline rush to the max through whitewater rafting, here are some reasons why Cagayan de Oro is the best place to do it:
1. It’s a FUN way to workout. Rafting is not just merely paddling your way through the rapids, but there’s also a mix of fun, games, and plenty of exercise as well. Keeping your balance is essential, which means you’ll on your arms, legs, and abs. At the end of the adventure, your body (specifically your hips and shoulders) might get sore, but trust me– it’s all worth it!
2. Standardized Rates. The local government has standardized rates for all whitewater-rafting tours in the city. Rest assured, there are no hidden fees and charges. However, rates may differ in some outfitters that offer other optional packages­ like an additional trip to Dahilayan Adventure Park, etc.
3. From Beginner to Expert. It’s not a problem if it’s your first time or not, because you have the freedom to choose which course you’ll take: beginner, advance, or expert. It’s all up to you if you just want to explore the riverbanks without getting wet or experience the daredevil adrenaline adventure while playing around the mighty rapids of Cagayan de Oro River.
4. Safety and Excellence. Don’t be troubled, because expert guides are provided by all rafting companies that will accommodate you throughout the actual rapid run. The International Rafting Federation trained them and they also had first aid training from the Philippine National Red Cross. Included in your fees are the appropriate gears for added safety and precaution.
5. Scenic and Panoramic Views. Aside from getting your fix for adrenaline rush, don’t be surprised to view the stunning scenic flora and fauna of Cagayan de Oro. You’ll also see unique rock formations and hidden caves along the way.
Fun fact: Cagayan de Oro is known to be the capital for whitewater river rafting in the Philippines. Also, the province has one of the cheapest rates for whitewater rafting in the whole country. Located in Northern Mindanao, the City of Golden Friendship offers a lot of high-spirited outdoor fun and adventure that everyone has got to experience!

Swimming With The Gentle Giants

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Just a week ago, some of my friends from Cagayan de Oro came to visit Cebu and tagged me alongside their adventures, and it’s always a YES for me being an adrenaline junkie that I am.  One of the trips we made to do some fun touristy things was to head south down the eastern coast of Cebu to watch and swim with the gentle giants of the sea, the whale sharks, locally known as “butanding”.  Swimming with the largest fish in the sea is a once in a lifetime experience so I couldn’t miss the chance.



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