Yes to Mt. Ulap

We always look forward to our movie night Friday where we get to watch senseless movies and stay up late at night. One of the movies we watched last year that was simplistic yet it somehow influenced me on how I make decisions. Drum roll please…

Jim Carrey’s “Yes Man”.

Don’t laugh! Ok you can laugh… but here’s the deal about the movie. This is a story about a guy who keeps saying “no” until he attended a self help seminar and was forced to say “yes” to everything. He thought he was cursed and if he doesn’t follow, he will seriously get hurt. Writing this sounds really corny but stay with me.

By simply saying “yes”, opportunities opened up and helped him move on from what was a bad experience and then eventually become a better person in the end.

“Yes to life”.

With my hiking buddy

Such a simple instruction. I have been sort of following this mantra since last year and it has changed my life, work, and relationships. I sort of identify with the character in such a way that I am usually reclusive and hesitant to say yes to things that is beyond my comfort zone. And by comfort zone, this is just my house and work.

Of course this is not encompassing to the point that I would do anything illegal but rather it’s a chance to say yes to activities that seem daunting. It also opened up my otherwise non-existent social life by meeting with friends if I get invited to meet up. These little decisions made me enjoy life a little bit more.

Just last month, I said yes to Mt. Ulap. I tried not to worry but I know this is difficult for me because I was lethargic since the start of 2019. Although this mountain has the same difficulty level as Mt. Pulag 3/9, I have this sinking feeling that this one is harder. I felt it would be better to also experience camping so that we will have a break in between the hike.

I was right because the trail was steeper, some areas are narrower, and usually traversing at the edge of a cliff. I tried to concentrate more on Julia and my steps but the height made me dizzy. There were a lot of “buwis buhay” moments for people who are very adventurous. I on the other hand, was satisfied with the basics.


Gungal Rock and the famous view. This one is so scary that we were the last one to try this.

But all I can say is that the views were absolutely breathtaking. I was in awe how glorious everything is. There were times when I just have to stand still to take it all in and say thank you.

I also had to remind myself that this is real. I distinctly remember the year when this was just a conversation between my sister-in-law and I. But now we are living it!

I don’t have to stress how one word has given me such an experience. I’ve said “yes” repeatedly that it is so hard to miss it or forget. Give it a try.

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Princesses for a Day

The only K-drama that I watched and enjoyed was the popular “Jewel in the Palace” which was based on a true story about a girl suffering all types of discrimination and hardships but remained steadfast in her values to emerge as the king’s doctor against the rules of the kingdom. It was truly empowering. How patience, having an inquisitive mind, and choosing what is right compared to what is easy can lead to a greater life of service.

Julia and I got to relive a little bit of the physical part of that life when we went to the Gyeongbokgung palace wearing a Hanbok (the Korean national costume). It was amazingly comfortable and cozy given the weather. It forced us to be demure in our actions lest we ruin our pretty dresses!

Julia, Green tea and I.

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We Survived Mt. Pulag!

After our climb in Mt. Daguldol, we braved the trail of Mt. Pulag together with my veteran climber sister-in-law Ate Lani. This was around September when there was a typhoon expected to hit the upper part of Luzon. Aside from the weather, I was more apprehensive of the arduous 5 hour trek going up which starts around 1 in the morning. We need to leave early so that we may be able to reach the peak for sunrise. After all, Mt. Pulag is the third highest mountain in the Philippines and the highest in Luzon and the view is expected to be amazing. We left by Friday and attended the pre-climb seminar Saturday morning and forced ourselves to sleep in the afternoon. We really need to rest so that we can wake up at 12 midnight.

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GSP Camping Part 1

When I was in elementary, the Girl Scouts of the Philippines was one of the few extra-curricular choices that we have in school. But sadly as the years progress, I became less interested and focused on other more exciting activities, like math (ok, I admit that was geeky).  In Julia’s case, the school only allows the students to choose one club and she picked the science club last year (a little cooler than math).  Luckily, I have two fellow moms who are scouting advocates and they formed our own girl scouts troop.  I excitedly asked if Julia could join knowing that she will pick up valuable life skills and lasting friendships with her fellow scouters.

Last vacation, we had a family camp experience in Alta Rios, Indang Cavite. We joined the training sessions of the UP Camping class such as first aid, bolo handling, tent pitching, and fire handling but had a separate area for our program.  Here are the things we did on our first day.


Lounging around, picking fruits and mulberries.

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Notes and Scribbles

Summer is over!

But before coming back to the absolute reality of school, let me share some of the hidden gems that I unearthed while I was cleaning up Julia’s bag last May.

As usual, her favorite animal is the bunny and these are found every where.  I mean every where. I especially like the inside flaps of her notebook where she showcased them in great capacity. For example, the drawing of the cats, dog, and rabbit that are in lab coats and mixing the chemicals is found in her science notebook while the castle is in her social studies notebook.  Even her teacher left a note saying that her drawings make her smile!

Here are some of her works required in class.  I love her stuffed toy green tea chef that she drew in health class and of course her heart melting letter for me.

I don’t really know what I should feel with these doodles. I really adore them but at the same time I don’t know if she’s paying attention to her teacher.  I remember my nanay telling me that she’s like her uncle Ryan when it comes to drawing instead of taking down notes.  There was even a time when she was in K-2 that the back of her test papers were full of drawings.  She said that she answers the test as fast as she can so she can still have time to sketch.

Wow.

I’m at a loss for words that time. But then, that confession clarified certain things like why she was careless with answering her tests. I guess studying and school work is really just part of playing. I don’t want to pressure her to be the best but then again I don’t want her to feel that school work is not important.

Just last weekend, I kept asking if she has homework and her answer was always “wala naman” (none).  I was doubtful so I verified from a fellow mom and true enough there was homework, not just one but two.  Being a mom makes me feel all sorts of super powers like being psychic.  I have been watching Julia her whole life knowing her inside and out or pregnancy might have something to do with it.  For now, I learned that trusting my instinct coupled with referring to experiences in the past helps me decide. Of course I should always remind myself to live in the present moment and have fun!

After reviewing and homework that is.

 

 

 

Bread and Breakfast

Being a mom has a million benefits (maybe even countless) but it also brought about increase in weight for me.  It was during pregnancy and after giving birth that I have  discovered how glorious food was! Also, breastfeeding made me eat like a horse. It was not long before I noticed the pounds that I added was difficult to take off.

My weight history is this — Before getting married: 106 lbs., 2 years after giving birth to Julia: 116 lbs to 120 lbs., 2 years after giving birth to Jansen: 128 lbs! This is now my new average.

I am alarmed.

…if I will not do something today, I will eventually find myself in the next few years increasing weight and struggling to lose it.  Especially since I do not eat properly and do not exercise.  My midsection is already large like I am about 5 months pregnant, my body is straight without any curves, and generally I feel bloated every day.

…if I will not lose weight, I will not fit in my previous clothes and will have to contend with my maternity clothes! I am still using a few pieces of loose clothing which I wore during the time I was pregnant.  It is disconcerting that these still fit! I also hate shopping because I honestly do not look good in most of them.  It was very frustrating to try them out and eventually not liking anything.  On the plus side, I saved a lot from shopping that I funnelled into food (so we’re back in the beginning).

…if I will not change my eating habits, it will be like I am continually breastfeeding without it’s benefits.  Breastfeeding is such a glorious thing! I can eat whatever I want and still not gain weight that much.  However, Jansen has been weaned already and all the calories that I eat is not being converted to milk.  Instead of maintaining or losing weight, I kept on adding to the scale.

So here’s the plan:

  1. Diet and then Eat Healthy – Diet first, then to maintain the weight, I need to eat healthy.  There is a myriad of diets to choose from and I have not taken them really seriously.  I found an office mate who has lost a lot of weight because of keto and I asked him if I could order food from him.  He agreed! so Keto it is!  I have a timeline of two months to go back to my 116 lbs. weight then after that, I can go to a low carb diet to maintain the weight.  I am currently having a hard time looking for food that does not have sugar in it! It is such an eye opener to see how many sugar it is in the nutritional information.  And it is really expensive to buy sugar free products that’s why  I am now a stevia convert. I am saved by coffee americano with heavy cream with stevia packets that I carry in my bag.
  2. Exercise – I enrolled in the gym because I also have an officemate who is a gym buff. So I just asked him and tagged along. It is a requirement to have someone who is more serious about this exercise business than myself because I would probably just slack off after a day. Currently I have 29% body fat. That’s a lot! So here’s hoping that the gym can make my flabby arms tighter and my tummy flatter.
  3. Not give up – The total duration is in two months since Jansen is on vacation and not with me every day.  I have the luxury of after office time and I should make the most of it.

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Keto bread with butter with the proteins
And even though people usually say things like “Beauty is skin deep” or “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, but! … “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels” – or should I say “as healthy feels”!