Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good Health Cards

While in La Union, the kids in the house were playing a game and while watching them, I noticed that each card didn't just have a beautiful picture, it also had nice words that could spark a good motivation.

Good Health Cards

These are called the "Good Health Cards." I don't know which manufactured these, but it was just so good, I knew I had to jot down every word, since I don't own the cards. In random order...

Good health -
  • nurtures your potential,
  • is a feast for your senses,
  • take a team effort,
  • defies gravity,
  • is sunscreen chic,
  • speaks to your senses,
  • starts the day with a smile,
  • is spontaneous,
  • points you at the right direction,
  • plays for keeps,
  • looks to the future,
  • is infectious,
  • is like a bowl of blueberries,
  • is a trusted friend,
  • is poetry in slow motion,
  • takes advantage of every opportunity,
  • puts some color in your cheeks,
  • serves you well,
  • gives points for style,
  • strikes a balance,
  • whets the appetite,
  • beats the drive-thru any day,
  • exercises the funny bone,
  • equips you for life,
  • is best with a twist,
  • takes the board out of the boardroom,
  • is one tough cookie,
  • lets the sunshine in,
  • builds on your potential,
  • comes in handy,
  • puts the ball in your court,
  • is always in season,
  • wants you to come out and play,
  • paves the road ahead,
  • takes guts,
  • gets your motor running,
  • looks forward to a new day,
  • works for everyone,
  • needs your attention,
  • loves company,
  • build inner strength,
  • is supportive,
  • is seeking the possibilities,
  • knocks the shot out of the blues,
  • is well within reach,
  • helps your garden grow,
  • is savoring the moment,
  • lifts you off your feet,
  • raises expectations,
  • is an angel on your shoulder.

See... good health does a lot to life, so we all need to strive to have it. Cheers to the good health!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Little Bag Collection


In 2008, I was able to buy this fabric sling bag for only p75 at a little souvenir shop while on a trip to Banaue. Since then, it has been my "security blanket," and the bag that I always use, except on formal occasions, of course. I love that I can put a lot of things in it, and because it is a cross-body bag, I feel secure using it. Best of all, it can cover up my tummy bulge, making me gutsy to pose for pictures.

When I started losing weight, part of me started accepting myself and now, I felt the need to slowly distance myself with my security blanket and start using different bags.

I am not a bag lady, but lately, I find myself owning a few bags...


This one was given to me by my cousin Marjorie earlier this year. Quite spacious inside... but the handles are a wee bit long for my liking. Well, this is something I will use during formal occasions or during events requiring guests to wear smart-casual attire.


Before traveling to Ilocos with my mom and sis, I wanted to buy a sling bag that is waterproof because my things - especially my gadgets - might get ruined should the fabric sling bag got wet, as part of our trip was visiting falls and beaches. Once, I entered a boutique and checked for bags, but product prices ranged from 800 pesos to as much as 1000 pesos. Being a very thrift person, I thought the bags were quite pricey, so the boutique staff told me to check Ukay Ukay shops. I admit I have bought clothes at an Ukay Ukay shop, but it never crossed my mind to actually check one for bags.

I bought this LeSportsac bag for only 350 pesos. It is the real thing (not a knockoff), so I found this one very cheap for its kind. The handle was a bit short, but I can wear this a sling bag, and currently, this has been the bag that I frequently use.


Another sling / cross body bag I bought online. I like bags with this material - as I can use it even during rainy days... and because it is silver and looked casual and that the handles can be adjusted (I can use this a sling bag or as a shoulder bag), I was happy to be able to buy this for only 390 pesos.


This is the newest bag on my little collection. I am not into big-label items especially with bags because I can't tell which is real and not. This Louis Vuitton fabric shoulder bag was given to me by my aunt Julie before I went back to Manila last week, and seriously, I don't know if this is authentic or not... which is why I am a little hesitant in using it. Well, my aunt said that a friend from the US gave this to her, and actually, my aunt have quite a lot of big-label bags that were given to her by her friends from the US. Considering the US government had this law against knock-offs, I reckon this bag is authentic. If you know ways to check if the bag is authentic or not, do let me know.

True, I am not a bag lady... but I am on the lookout for a medium sized hand bag, something formal, so I can use it during special occasions. Will update this when I get to find the bag I am trying to look for.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Asian Secrets Scrubs and Soaps

On the very controversial video, "Things I Dislike About the Philippines," the one behind the video said he dislikes the Filipinos' obsession about whitening products; that he couldn't understand why people living in a tropical country like the Philippines would love to have fair skin.

Well, I personally cannot answer why whitening products seem to be a big thing here in the Philippines as it is a case to case basis, but personally, I do use whitening products NOT because I want to have pearly white complexion, but because my skin used to be a little fair and that I started getting dark when I started traveling and enjoying the sun. Add to that... being obese cause me to have darker skin in areas I'd rather not say, so for me, the hopes of getting fair skin isn't to really become white, but to just have even skin tone.

Dark Feet

This shows how my skin gets dark easily. I went to La Union last week and stayed there for 5 days, and even if I went out of the house for just 2 days, I came home with darker feet. I'd be the first to say that my feet right now look hideous... so no need for violent comments, hahaha.

Anyway, first quarter of the year, some bloggers hosted a Blog Giveaway with Asian Secrets products. I am not sure how many bloggers hosted it, but I remember trying my luck on three different blogs and was lucky enough to win in one. My prize? Two pieces of each Asian Secrets products.

It wasn't something new to me. Us girls shared a tub of the Asian Secrets whitening body scrub, but I couldn't vouch if it's effective or not because I didn't use it regularly. Well, when I received my 10-piece Asian Secrets pack, I told myself I'd try to use it regularly and hope that my skin lighten.

Asian Secrets Scrubs

Copying what was written on the back of the tub:

"Asian Secrets Lulur Indonesian Whitening Body Scrub is a beauty treatment which originated from the royal palaces of Java, Indonesia and inspired by a ritual called lulur. Lulur was originally intended for the bride-to-be in order to beautify, smoothen, and whiten her skin before her wedding day."

The benefits of this product:
  • Lulur beads gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells to smoothen and give it a radiant glow.
  • Frequent uses reduces skin pigmentation and evens out skin tone by getting rid of dark patches, especially in areas prone to darkening like the elbows, knees, armpits, and between the thighs.
It is recommended that one use it on dry skin. When I first used this product, I actually tried using it on wet skin and the water just melted the formula, so yes, you must use this on dry skin. The beads are so small so rubbing it on the skin doesn't really irritate. One big problem I have is the term called "double dipping," so the way to prevent dipping back my fingers was to get some of the scrub and tap areas of my skin - kinda like when one puts on some moisturizer on the face - creating dots before rubbing it altogether.

Currently, they have three variants: the purple tub with Licorice and Mulberry Leaf Extract - which smells a little masculine for me, kinda like the unisex cologne; the green tub with Green Tea and Vitamin E - which smells like the very first Asian Secrets scrub; and the blue tub with Seaweed Extract and Vitamin E - which for me smells the best among the three.

Well of course, I can only use one at a time, so I went for the green one. Why? No particular reason, I just reached for a tub from the package and it was the first one I got.

I started using it today, and I could say that my skin felt lighter, as if lots of dead skin cells and dust had been lifted off my skin. It also felt a little smoother, so even if the whitening effect is still not visible (of course that would take time), I am already happy with the product.

Asian Secrets Soap

The soaps on the other hand contains Bengkoang or Yam Bean extracts, a popular ingredient in Indonesian whitening products. The green one contains Olive Oil, which acts as a moisturizer while the orange one has Betel Extract, which gives extra protection for germs that can cause body odor.

Since the scrubs can only be used 3 times a week or every other day, I also decided to use the soap, which I can use everyday. That may seem "obsessing" over whitening products, but I just want to test its full potential. I am using the green one, in case you wanna know.

Expiry Date

I love that they printed out the date of manufacturing and its expiry date. With ten items to use it would take some time before I can use it all, so I find it great that I still have more than a year to use up all the scrubs and two more years to use up all the soaps. Well... with a very promising product, I sure would use it regularly and I might get to use it all up by the year ends. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What I Ate in Ilocos, Part 1

We used to have a desktop my brother and I use to update our sites, but now that it just died, us three siblings try to share sister's net book, but of course, brother and I can only use it for a short period of time as sister pretty much needs all the online time she can get. Updating this blog might be a little slower than it already is, but I will surely take the time to update the blog.

Anyway, if you read my previous post, or if you have read any of sister's blogs, you already knew that we went to Ilocos last Holy Week, and since this blog is a melting pot of different blog topics, let me just share the food I ate during the Ilocos Trip, starting with Day 1.


It was 5-ish in the morning of Good Friday when we reached Ilocos Sur... and as much as we wanted to eat breakfast at Cafe Uno (at the Grandpa's Inn), we just couldn't because they said the restaurant was catering to 100 guests. We had no choice but to eat fast food, and since only Jollibee and Chowking were open at that time, we decided to eat at Chowking. All night of traveling made me want to eat heavy, hence this meal.


I am a big fan of Milk Tea, so I didn't pass up the chance to have a glass of Nai-Cha to cool me. Now that milk tea places are sprouting like mushrooms... it's great that Chowking's Nai-Cha upgraded the quality and the taste.


After breakfast, we went to different places around Vigan, and by 11am, we were back on the road going to our next destination: Batac, Ilocos Norte. Along the way, we stopped at this small store and the tour guide of the other van handed us two boxes and some Tinubong. I wasn't able to photograph the box of Carrot Cupcake and the Tinubong, but I was able to take a picture of the Macaroons (above). All were delicious, so all of us were looking forward to coming back to Vigan so we can order some goods to take home.


When we reached Batac, it was so unfortunate that their Food Court was closed because it was Good Friday. We basically had no choice but to either go for Jollibee or Chowking, and since we were still a little full, we just wanted something to cool us, so we chose to eat lunch at Chowking (again) and I just had a cup of Halo-Halo. Notice that the ice cream and the crushed ice already started melting - indication that it was one scorching hot afternoon that day.

More places visited... and in between locations we would take the chance to sleep or munch some snacks (junk food).


Late afternoon, before they took us to the resort, we passed by the public market in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte so we could eat some Empanadas. I already knew back then that the empanada sold in Batac was much better than the ones in Vigan, but since we weren't able to eat at Batac, I guess this was a great replacement. It sure looked and tasted like the Batac's version, therefore very, very good. It had a lot of fillings and sister confirmed that it was indeed much better than the Vigan Empanada. I actually ate two empanadas that afternoon - it was just so good.

We didn't eat dinner anymore, we were just so tired that a few hours after reaching the resort, we just all went to bed and called it a night.

Food from Day 2 will be shared next time.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Health Risks and a Wake Up Call

If you have noticed by now, I haven't posted anything about my Food Journal, morning walks / jogs, and everything else that I used to post with regards to my journey to losing weight. That's because I allowed myself to stay out of track, and while my weight has been the same and that I even lost a pound from the last time I updated my weight, fact is... I still am not as enthusiastic as I was the time I started the journey.

While in La Union, I got to be with my paternal family - two aunts with Diabetes and an uncle who had a stroke years back and is living a life with so many health issues. When I got home, another uncle dropped by to pick up some stuff from La Union and I learned he's currently suffering from GERD. All are my dad's siblings.  Interacting with them, I realized how bad my family history is as far as health is concerned. I am under 200lbs, but I still am obese, and seeing them just gave me a peek into my future...

...if I don't act about it.

I am going back to the biggest reason why I want to lose weight - to live longer and healthier. There is no turning back now, I really have to control how things will unfold if I don't want to see myself the way people have predicted my outcome - Diabetes at age 40, probably death before I reach my 60th birthday (all because I am fat and is living a sedentary lifestyle).

During one of my idle days last week, I got to read an article entitled "Prevent Diabetes in You: Start Now" by Ferdy Susanto (October - December 2011 issue). It stated there the risk factors for Diabetes including:
  • Family History
  • Obesity
  • Diet and Physical Inactivity

All three I could very well relate with. One thing that caught my interest was this line - Extra fat above the hips is riskier than the fat in the hips and thighs for developing Diabetes. Back then, when Dr. Mehmet Oz guested on Oprah, I learned that BMI wasn't really as reliable and this claim was backed up by Covert Bailey in his book "The New Fit and Fat." He said that being overweight isn't the problem, but being overfat. True, two people can be 250lbs. but one can be all muscle and one can be all fat, therefore even if both persons have the same BMI, clearly, one of them is at risk to develop health problems. Going back to Dr. Oz, he mentioned in the same TV guesting that the waistline can be a much reliable way to check a person's health risk and that women has to have 32 inches or lower waistline, if I remember it correctly. My current waistline is 4, sometimes 5 inches more than what it should be and being a person with big tummy, I know the health risks. Yikes.

In the said magazine article, the author listed some warning signs (for Diabetes):
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Being tired most of the time
  • Leg pain or numbness
  • Losing weight though feeling hungrier than the usual

I still haven't checked my FBS, but of these warning signs, the only one I had lately was the leg pain or numbness, but I was thinking maybe it was because I sat too long most of the time the past weeks because of traveling and sickness. Still, I don't want to be over confident, which is why I am doing what the article asks me to do: Start Now!

I have been looking for that  one great motivation and inspiration... sucks to know it would have be something "negative," but I'd like to think it is something "positive." I want to be healthy and I want to live longer, that's all the motivation I need.


Friday, April 20, 2012

My Sojourn in La Union

14 April 2012

When we got home from our Ilocos Trip, I got really sick. I wasn't sure if I had food or water poisoning or that I wasn't really able to use the toilet that much (sometimes my body tends to get shy from using the toilet), but since Monday (09 April), I was dealing with a bad case of diarrhea that seemed to last the entire week - worst day being Thursday. I feared I won't be able to travel to La Union for my cousin's wedding, but I was thankful that even if I still wasn't okay come Friday, Saturday morning seemed to be optimistic for me.

Sister's off day at work was Sunday, so we decided to meet after her shift last Saturday. Brother went with me to help me carry all the luggage and us three had dinner together. I didn't know what made me think about it, but while waiting for sister at the restaurant, I decided to drink half a glass of Coca-Cola. My tummy was still churning and making unnecessary noises, but it just made me think - in one film there was a scene where fire was used to put out another fire, so acid might help put out the acid in my tummy. It turned out to be a great solution... after the Coke, my tummy just stabilized! Amazing!

Off to La Union

Sister and I took the 9pm bus to La Union. Along the way, we sent our Aunt Julie messages, just so she wouldn't get worried about us. Of course, I also sent messages to brother.

15 April 2012

We arrived in La Union at 3:30am. Aunt Julie welcomed us and I was also able to exchange some words with Uncle Caesar (both are my dad's younger siblings, both single). Sis and I were so tired from sitting for too long, so after a few minutes, we decided to sleep and recharge for a long day ahead.

Visiting Daddy's Grave

We planned to visit Luna Church that morning, but with so many things we wanted to do (sis only had this full day as she had to go back to Manila after today) and we got up a little late, we decided to cancel it and just go directly to the cemetery to visit daddy's grave. It was a year ago when I visited his grave, it was a sweet blessing to be able to return and light a candle for him.

Bibingkang Galapong

Before this travel, I was able to see an album on one of my friends on Facebook. It featured a food trip on a restaurant called Muchas Gracias, and since I didn't really plan to check out different places for this trip, might as well just go a food trip. Aside from the eat-all-you-can Halo Halo, sister and I also shared a serving of Vigan Longganisa Quesadilla and a serving of Bibingkang Galapong (pictured above).

Mother and Kiddos

From there, we went to our Aunt Lorie's place just so sister could see our cousin Mhai. Sister won't be able to attend her wedding, so with this visit, at least she was able to send her greetings personally.

Something funny happened that afternoon. Our aunt's place is located at the countryside and they do have a lot of animals roaming freely around. I found these baby goats so cute, but the leash on the mother's neck wasn't tied on a tree, so every time I tried to get one of kids, the mother goat would look sharply at me. I was able to find a chance to carry one of the kids, but a few steps away, it cried, and the mother was so angry and was so ready to chase me. I got so scared, so I quickly (but gently) put the kid back on the ground.

We went home before dinner, and instead of catching the 11pm bus back to Manila, sister decided to sleep soundly that night and just wake up real early the next morning.

16 April 2012

We woke up 3:30am and I let sister fix herself and her things. Thanks to the goodness of cousin Weng who drove us to the bus stop, we were able to get there earlier. Sadly, waiting for the bus turned out to eat a long time because there were a lot of passengers. Thankfully, the bus arrived at 5:30am, and though there wasn't an available seat, I told sis to ride and stand for a while for there will be passengers going down once it reached the province's capital city.

Us three - Aunt Julie, Cousin Weng and I - went back to Aunt Lorie's place to eat breakfast and to help with some preparations. The wedding reception will be at their place, so people living nearby offered a hand in cutting the ingredients for the dishes they planned to serve to the guests.

My Cousin Mhai

Cousin Anna Lyne and her son Aaron arrived mid-afternoon and together, we went to the church and witnessed as Cousin Mhai exchanged vows with her boyfriend Jonathan. I wasn't able to take that much pictures as they do have an official photographer, but I was thankful I was able to take a few snapshots.

The wedding reception was sort of a mess, if you ask me personally, as they didn't really prepare a program, but taking what Aunt Lorie said, it was a success. At the end of the day, what mattered most was the bind and them becoming "husband and wife."

17 April 2012

Cabbage Salad

Such a hot, hot day!

I wanted to go out and check out places, but thinking of the heat just made me want to stay at home.

Lunch, we reheated a dish we took home from last night's wedding reception, and since vegetable is a big part of our diet, Aunt Julie prepared this cabbage salad - with tomatoes, shallots and seasoned with pepper, salt, and vinegar.

18 April 2012

Using My Niece's MacBook Air

Aunt Julie reported back to work (she's a nurse), so I really wanted to go out - just to go anywhere, but my niece Louianne (cousin Weng's daughter) and John Vince (son of Uncle Caesar's adopted son) played cards, so I just played with them. It was great sharing laughs with them - laughing heartily when one loses - and around 9am, Louianne went online to chat with her mom who's in Canada right now.

She allowed me to use her laptop after an hour, and it was my first time to use a MacBook. My niece doesn't realize how "special" her laptop is, but as much as special the laptop (brand) is, it still felt like any other ordinary laptop to me. :)

I packed my things late in the afternoon. I decided to travel back home tonight as I have an event to attend the next day.

I planned to take the 11pm bus, but we got to the bus stop 30 minutes earlier and was able to ride the bus some 5 minutes after. Well, it was a great timing - the bus was sort of old so the fare wasn't was expensive, but I loved the seats. It was so comfortable and since there weren't much passengers, I was able to recline it fully well and it felt like I was sleeping on a bed. :)

19 April 2012

BLT Sandwich

I arrived in Manila at 4:30am. Brother will come pick me up as I had this big luggage full of food items from Aunt Julie, but he arrived around 6am. I didn't eat any snacks while on the road (as I was just sleepy the entire trip), so he and I had breakfast first before going home.

Uncle Mel dropped by to get the items Aunt Julie sent for him and it allowed us to chit chat about many things.

Yes, I attended the event that afternoon, but the story about that will be shared on my food blog, Tara, Let's Eat! tomorrow.

A very short stay in my dad's hometown. It wasn't productive as far as traveling is concerned, but I went there focusing on the wedding, and it was something I was happy to be a part of.

PhotoStory Friday