Tuesday, December 30, 2014

She's Pregnant and I'm Devastated: An OFW's Nightmare

"She's pregnant or he becomes a drug addict," two news an OFW doesn't want to hear.

Yah, it's a taboo. These things are never talk openly, and by posting this, I wish to voice those hidden feelings an OFW face in this kind of situation.

I thought I am a role model enough to my niece. I beat teen pregnancy to the curb by focusing on the goal to take my mother out of poverty. Teen pregnancy were rampant back then, but I chose abstinence. I told myself that 'if I get pregnant, I'd rather hang myself.' As weird as those words were, it worked!

Now that I am 28 years old, still practicing abstinence, I get judgemental about teen pregnancy, "Pfft, weaklings..." I'd often say, but there are things in life that happens to humble you, and I think I found mine.

I found out that my 18-year-old niece is pregnant, and I am devastated. Man, it hurts!

I got high hopes for her. I saved up for her college, secured it before deciding to come home for good (I already talked about this in a blog or two.) Saving up for her college education was one of the many goals I achieved. I told her to look at her mom and their current situation, to make it as an inspiration as she work her way through college life- these strategies helped me before, but sadly it didn't work for her.

She wanted to be a flight attendant, she is pretty alright- I am not saying that because we are related, but a lot of people said she is, that she can be a flight attendant personal appearance-wise. I supported her in her ambition. I told myself that I won't let her experience what I experienced- begging for tuition fees and tuition fees were not given without having the feeling of "pabigat ka" thrown at you, I even heard from people I looked up to that I would turn out pregnant coz I am slutty (I talked about it in my About Me post before, dig it up if you haven't read it yet,)- I told myself that this time around, I won't let my niece experience what I experienced coz I know how it feels like and it sucks big time, and sometimes these things follow you for life, I wanted so much to save her from those.

What we've been through shaped us, make us what and who we are. I am a strong proponent of abstinence and celibacy because of what I've been through, things I heard, etc., and to strongly think that my niece would follow in my footsteps, minus all the things I experienced, is wrong, super-duper wrong.

She is my niece and I still got hurt, how much more if she is my daughter, I can't imagine how it feels like- triple or even million siguro ang sakit!

"Are you pregnant?" I messaged her.
"Are you pregnant? It's either a yes or a no. You owe me an answer, you know." I messaged her again because she didn't answer my first message.
"Yes, tita, I am. I am so sorry...." Her reply.

It sucks, but oh well. At least she didn't secretly abort the baby because I am one of those close-minded, hardheaded pro-life. I'm thinking of legally adopting the baby if she wants to. May instant baby na ako! Let's see how things will turn out.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Less Than 15 Days To Go: Finally Found a Perfect Suitcase for Red (Brompton Folding Bike)

I've been to different Goodwill stores countless times to look for perfect suitcase for Red. I also tried different boxes, different bags and all, searched the internet for some ideas (Ikea's Dimpa bags,etc.) But me being OA and being OCD, I can't seem to find one that suits my 'needs.' Yah, I really want Red to be protected, that's all. He has been my companion and it's right naman that I would give him a little bit of comfort as we travel to another country, especially that I would be checking him in, so I won't be with him for a lot of hours! 

I told myself that if I really can't find a perfect suitcase for him, my final resort would be to buy the  B&W hardcase luggage- a luggage meant for Brompton folding bikes. So I searched high and low, and finally... FINALLY... F I N A L L Y....


I found one!

I found it in Korean store! Wohooooo!!!! (You have no idea how excited I am!)

Price: $25 including taxes

Yah, it was a bit pricey for me , but compared to the hard case luggage ($360 not including shipping) and the soft case luggage ($240 not including shipping), it's not that bad. I saw big enough suitcase at Ross too and it was priced at $65, so $25 is way better, right? I am really glad I searched before buying. Seek and you shall find!

The brand: C.Y. U.S.A

  • The price, of course!
  • It's a square kind of luggage and, for some weird reason, I have been to different stores and square luggages are kind of rare
  • It has wheels and weights about 8 lbs

  • It's soft case so you got find way to 'fortify' it
  • It doesn't have suitcase handle

So, since it doesn't offer much protection, I did the DYI approach:

  • Good thing I didn't throw away the sleeping pad I bought years ago- back when I was working like a carabao. With no time to go home, I bought this so I can catch some few hours sleep at work. The bed was meant for camping, by the way. I bought it at Amazon (Stansport Pack-Lite Camping Pad):

  • I spread the other half at the bottom leaving the other half out of the luggage (see the blue). I found some extra foam, so I cut it and put it at the sides  (white and the brow-ish)

  • I also made sure to put two (connected) string hooks below the sleeping pad(I dont know what it's called. I didn't buy it, but I thought I saw some at the dollar store) See the red hook at the left side:



  • I actually took the saddle as well as the seat post. I made sure that I wrapped the pedals and the handle with bubble wrap and foam,so it won't poke through the bag. I also put a blanket in between the sleeping pad and the bike for added protection:

  • I covered the bike with blanket for added protection:


  • Put the other half of the sleeping pad on top:

  • Secured it with hook thingy, and voila:


Total weight: 38 lbs.- way below the checked-in weight limit (which is 50 lbs). I am planning on putting clothes since it has still room, meant to add more protection ( can you feel/see some serious case of OCD here?)

D O N E:



Monday, December 22, 2014

Living in a Developed Country: Random Things That I Enjoy and Find Amusing

  • Saleslady that leaves you alone when you shop, even when you are just window-shopping

Saleslady: Can I help you?
Me: No, thank you. I'm just looking around
Saleslady: Sure thing. Let me know if you need my assistance...(then walks away leaving you alone)

Note: Despite this, I'm missing the "check in your grocery/shopping bag thingy before entering a mall" in 'pinas. Walang ginito here.

  • 98 percent of the stores here, including online shops, have an amazing return policy

I mean, you can return merchandise without any questions and accusations being thrown at you, as long as it's within 30-90 days after purchase? Amazing!

  • Toilet  paper in every restroom you go to? Amazing!

  • State-of-the-art library
I know I have been bragging about the library all the time, but it continues to amaze me lang, is all. For someone who is from a country which is kind of digitally backwards, mamamangha ka talaga, swear!

I've seen movies old and new, read books old and new as well, watched countless documentaries, free wi-fi. I can even use the computer there for free! I also can read and borrow e-books: just need to borrow it at my library's website, download and voila, instant reading without having the need to go to the actual library! Plus the e-book just automatically disappear in your e-reader, so you don't have to go to the library to physically return a book. How awesome is that?!

Library is a place which saves me tons on entertainment costs. For a frugal person, that is sweeeet!
Tip to watch NEW movies: when I see a commercials that a certain movie is already being released on DVD, I just go ahead and click "HOLD" on my library's website. Chances are a lot of people are putting it on hold too and before you know it, that new DVD is all ready in your hands! That is how I have been skipping movie theater.
  • Little library along the trail


Not only that I am being spoiled and rotten by the main library, may "little library" pa everywhere!

You can borrow a book, return it if you like. It's not as grand as the main library but hey, somewhere where you can get books for free, it's good, right? (I have been putting books to be donated and diligently returning anything that I borrowed. I don't want to be hoarding books coz I really want to be a full-fledged minimalist.)
  • Trail ( Walking, Running, Biking) and a Bike Friendly Community

Four Mile Run is part of an acres upon acres of park


Bicycle Friendly Community

  • No fear of being robbed/mugged
Isn't it amazing to be able to walk around with an earphone plugged in an iPod and listen to podcasts without having to worry that somebody will come up and take it away from you?
  • Escalator rule: Stand on right, walk on left
I never knew this rule existed until I came here. Walang ganitong "escalator rule" sa pinas, right? But I plan on keeping this rule for life. 
  • Trail rule
Just like the Escalator Rule, you walk/run on the right, pass on the left. If you are biking on the trail and you see a runner,few seconds before you pass him/her,  you alert him/her by uttering "bike on your left" or "passing on your left" or simply saying "on your left" if you don't have bike bell. Be sure that they'll hear you, though. If you are the runner and you hear the 'on your left' signal, you answer by raising your left arm mid-way to signal them forward.
  • Fast food eat-in rule: Clean up after yourself 

In pinas, whenever you eat out, you just leave everything to the cleaner, who goes around regularly, to clean your table .Here, you eat, clean your table and throw the trash yourself. Just like the escalator rule, this amazes me! I plan on keeping this rule for life as well.

  • Water fountain everywhere!
 For a frugal person like me, being able to refill your water bottle anywhere is some serious saving money technique!
  • Water is free, IF you ask for it
Every time I eat in a fast food restaurant, I'd skip  the soda and ask for a cup of water. Save me money and calories,too.
  • Fast internet connectivity plus free wi-fi hotspot almost anywhere, even inside the bus
  • Wearing beanies, sweatshirts and all things for cold weather

For someone who is from a hot and humid country, 'diba those make us excited?! We think we look cool and cute in it. hehe!

I would also miss wearing my North Face fleece and Nort Face down jacket and my Uggs- those 3 were given to me one Christmas at a time from my boss.

  • Seeing squirrels, deer and geese everywhere. Even occasional turtles!
  • Fall (weather)- my favorite weather

  • Goodwill
Where you find branded second-hand and, most of the time, unused-complete-with-tag stuffs. Land of the excess talaga

  • TV shows/Channels I Enjoy: 
- Investigation Discovery Channel
- Link TV
- Gotham on Fox
- Constantine on NBC
- SYFY channel
- Z-Nation
- Mysteries at the Museum 
- Dead files
- Travel Channel
- This is Life with Lisa Ling
- Comedy Channel


This 'other side of the fence' sure looks good and enticing, but this would never be a home to me. I'm just thankful that I know HOW it feels like and WHAT it looks like on the other side of the fence. Few years is more than enough for me. Now, I'm ready to hop back on the other side of the fence where I truly belong.

Friday, December 19, 2014

GOALS 2015

2015 for me is not all about the money and frugality. Sure, I'd still save as much as I can and practice frugality whenever I can, but the trait of saving money and being frugal are all ready here to stay. I already am a full-fledged saver and frugal, why need to make into a goal?

You all know that I am coming home for good. I haven't seen my family in years. My immediate family- my mother, three brothers and I- haven't spend time together in one roof for over 13 years (after the death of my maternal grandmother, you all know the whole story)

So for the upcoming year, I'll devote it for strengthening/building relationship and self-improvement.

Note: My goals below are just snippets. I've written the details in my journal on how to achieve the goals mentioned below peppered with fantasies here and there. I don't want to gross you out with the details (ang dami kasing ka oa-han), so yah... just snippets.

  • Embrace more

  • Say I love you often

  • Strengthen my relationship with Mama and brothers by doing things together, even little things like going for a picnic often or just hanging out in the house for a 'family time'

  • Devote one day once a week for 'family time.' Family bonding need not to be expensive. We can play board games or just simply hang out and talk

  • Visit my Papa's grave with my brothers and Mama, so we could be kind of complete after all these years

  • Set a 'girls' day/night out' once a week or once every fortnight for me and my Mama. It could be a simple lunch/dinner- just the two of us

  • Listen more

  • Judge less

  • Breathe before saying something stupid when angry/upset

  • Words heal or it could hurt. Choose the former.

  • Learn to say 'SORRY'

  • For goodness sake, use things you buy! Why are you saving it? Use it! Later may never come. ( I have a habit of not using things kasi 'sayang' and 'baka masira.' I already identify why I am like this.)

  • Explore at least one Philippine province

  • Mend broken relationship

  • Avoid clutter at all cost. Trust in abundance

  • Cut people slack 

  • Appreciate: point out the good in people and say it, leave out the bad ones

  • Embrace novelty, but appreciate ordinary, everyday life

  • Climb at least one mountain

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Hobbit Trilogy: Money and Life Lessons (SPOILER ALERT!)

I just finished watching The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. You know I am a fan, I wouldn't miss it for the world! My first AND only movie I watched in the theater for this year. I said to myself that I would gladly spend money for The Hobbit movie and nothing else. I said 'no' to The Guardians of the Galaxy and Interstellar because of this. So there I was. But it was a money well-spent, if you are in to the whole Lord of the Rings thing.

Last night, as I spent my 6 hours ( yep, S-I-X hours!) watching the last two extended edition The Hobbit movies ( An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug), which I watched countless times,in preparation for the sequel, The Battle of the Five Armies. I realized that there are lessons to be learned in this whole Hobbit trilogy. I thought I'd share it with you guys. Here it is:

  • Who says the way to your goal is easy? It never is.
The 13th dwarves, headed by the dwarf prince Thorin Oakenshield, with Bilbo Baggin's and Gandalf the Grey's goal was to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Their way to the goal was met with hardships, from mountain trolls to escaping the goblin tunnel and fighting Azog the Defiler, even fighting woodelves who later become one of their allies.

To reach Erebor, they must overcome hurdles, just as we need to battle our way to our goal and treat every hurdle as a way to strengthen ourselves and those relationships around us.

  • "Tell me, when did doilies and your mother's dishes become so important to you?... The world is not in your books and maps. It's out there." -Gandalf to Bilbo Baggins
To find ourselves, sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone. To travel and to see what's out there is an enriching experience.

  • "You have a tale or two to tell of your own when you come back." -Gandalf the Grey to Bilbo
    "Can you promise that I will come back?" -Bilbo Baggins' answer
    "No, and if you do, you will not be the same." -Gandalf the Grey

Told you travelling, living abroad and stepping out of your comfort zone can change you. Need I say more?

  • "But home is now behind you, the world is ahead." -Gandalf the Grey to Bilbo

  • It is sad, Frodo, how old alliances can be broken. How friendships between peoples can be lost and for what...? (scoffs)- Bilbo Baggins (referring to the rift between elves and dwarves over the white gems)
I told you about the story of how debt could ruin relationship. Ask yourself before lending to a family member/treasured friends, "Is this Php ____ the price of your relationship/friendship?"

  • Thror's love of gold had grown too fierce. A sickness had begun to grow within him. It was a sickness of the mind. And where sickness thrives, bad things will follow." -Bilbo Baggins
*Thror (Thorin Oakenshield's grandfather, the original King Under the Mountain)

Oh, how contentment is such an elusive thing. It's human nature to want more, as what I mentioned in one of my blog posts, apparently it's true to dwarves,too. hehe!

Greed is one of the highlights of the movie. How Thorin succumbs to greed after the death of Smaug, when they are inside the Halls of Erebor. When he saw the vast gold, he suddenly forgot all his promises he made to the people of Dale.

  • Great story doesn't always begin with fireworks and that whole shebangs, it could begin "in a hole in the ground."
* hole in the ground- where Hobbits' live

Do not begin to think that you want somebody else's life other than your own. Carve your own adventure!

  • "There's a lot more to him that appearances suggest, and he's got a great deal more to offer than any of you know, including himself "- Gandalf the Grey to the 13th dwarves and Bilbo
Ahhh, lucky are those who found someone who believes in you even though people, including yourself, don't really believe in you. Maybe we can be a "Gandalf" to someone.

  • "True courage is about knowing  not when to take a life.. but when to spare one." --Gandalf to Bilbo ( when Gandalf handed Bilbo and elven sword which Bilbo later called Sting)

  • "Mithrandir... why the halfling?" -Lady Galadriel to Gandalf
    "I do not know... Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I found. I have found it is the small things... everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love." -Gandalf

*Mithrandir is one of Gandalf's aliases. I believe it is only elves that call him that.
*Saruman- the white wizard

  • "You! What were you doing? You nearly got yourself killed! Did I not say that you would be a burden? That you would not survive the wild? That you have no place amongst us? I have never been so wrong in all my life. But I am sorry I doubted you." - Thorin to Bilbo
Accepting that you are wrong and saying sorry is a nice thing to do, but it is sooo hard.  Great people say sorry.

  • Reading contracts-even the fine print (just how Bilbo read the contract, even fainted after reading it)
  • Honoring your words over money
  • At the end, when Bilbo arrived at the Shire after his great adventure with the dwarves, I smiled... I see myself in it. It's like me arriving at 'my' Shire (Philippines) having returned from 'my' great adventure (working abroad).

Ahhh, The Hobbit trilogy is really over. I was sad, big time! My last movie in the country. My last Five Guys as well! Counting days till I come home for good.

P.S. Sorry if I haven't been blogging a whole lot. My mind is all over the place. I will try and keep up, swear!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Kinikilig talaga ako! Swear!

My first time being featured in a magazine, so I have all the rights to be giddy, right? Haha!

To see the online version of the magazine, here is the link:


  ILLUSTRADO Magazine Oct 2014 , and my story is on pages 63-64.

Thanks, Miss Didi :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Person I Became: Things I Discovered Along the Way as an OFW

Finding My Independence

If a situation comes up that I need to survive alone, I can hold my head up high, roll up my sleeves and proudly say, "Bring it on, baby!" Gosh, I can't even begin to say how working away from home made me an independent woman. I do things alone. I can survive alone. I even went to New York alone, and whenever I told my friends that I went to NY alone, they shake their heads and say, "I can never do that!" 

If you only have yourself to rely on, you cannot help but to rely on yourself. My aunt once told me a story on how she used to be an expert on everything and anything Manila- where to go, what jeep/MRT/LRT to take,etc. (for a probinsyana like us, Manila is super confusing!) But when her daughter has been regularly going with her during her Manila travels, she claims that Manila is now confusing to her. Her Manila-street smarts vanished because she has someone to rely on- her daughter.

Girls and the Restroom

You know the joke that a girl can't go to the restroom without her group of friends? Man, I used to be like that back home. Now, I can walk in front of the crowd with no care in the world. I realized that people have different thoughts running in their heads and they don't really care about you. They might look at you for a sec but again, they don't really care. Kebs.

Same thing with running, too. I used to be ashamed if people see me huffing and puffing while running but now? Not anymore...


I acquired the 'I don't care where I sit' attitude 


Most Americans , I observed, are not maarte . They sit anywhere: on stairs, in the corner, side of the escalator, etc. (mostly when waiting for train/bus) I didn't know until few weeks ago that I kind of acquired their habit of just sitting anywhere. One day, I was waiting for a train. It wasn't rush hour so it took a longer time than usual for the train to arrive, well, I just went to the corner, sat cross-legged on the floor, opened a book and  just read. And then, it hit me, did I unconsciously acquire this unusual American habit? Weird! 


When I was living with my paternal grandmother, my duties were mostly laundry, cleaning, organizing, sewing, etc. I never had the chance to experiment in the kitchen because I was afraid that they will ridicule my cooking. Now, I can confidently say that I know how to cook. It was out of necessity: one day, I was just sick and tired of eating ramen regularly and decided to watch Food Channel. The rest, they said, is history. Cooking is easy naman pala!

Missing the Philippines, Being Proud to be a Filipino and Appreciation of Simple Living

You don't know what you have until it's gone or, in my case, I didn't know the extent of my patriotism until I went abroad. Ever since I work abroad, I became appreciative of my Filipino-ness. I suddenly defend Philippines whenever issues arise/ whenever someone bitch about Philippines. Sure, Philippines is far from perfect, but I love it! I love the culture and I beam with pride and answer, "I am from the Philippines" whenever someone ask me, "Where are you from?"

Living in a developed country made me appreciate the simple, laid back life back home. Even though life here is comfortable with transportation reliable, people follow rules and such, it would never be a home to me. Crazy as it is, I'd pick Philippines over America.


Embracing the Real Me

As an attempt to end my singlehood, I once decided to say yes to a 'hanging out' invitation. The conversation went about music and movies. He said that rock music is trashy and science fiction are for immature people. My heart aches coz I love my science fiction and I love my Red Hot Chili Peppers, Matchbox 20 and Green day music. Well, I would never be a jazz music fan and I am okay with that. This is a woman who enjoys science fiction and loud musics and, if you aren't okay with my likes, I surely am okay with that.

Physical appearance-wise, I grew up in a country where tan skin is ridiculed. Growing up, I wanted to have  fair skin and I also hated my natural brown hair, so I regularly buy and doused my hair with blackening shampoo (Php 10 per sachet bought at a pharmacy, if I remember it correctly). Fair skin plus black hair? Parang Snow White lang ang drama. Now that I am exposed to and observed different cultures, the definition of what is beautiful varies from one culture to another. Tan skin tone may not be called beautiful in our country but in this country,it is. I realized that why waste your time clamoring for perfection when there is always somebody out there who is prettier and younger than you. Chasing perfection is pointless, I came to realize. This is me- a woman with a golden tan skin tone and brown hair- and I am okay with that.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Random Thoughts

  • 3 cleaning ladies clean the house across the street every Monday morning
  • Why am I not studying Technical Analysis when I have all the time in the world?
  • Finally got hold of the complete first season of Spartacus (DVD). Second Season is put on hold by me. Got to 'use and abuse' my local library. Walang ganito sa 'pinas.
  • I have been reading tons of 'stunt non-fiction' lately. Have you heard of that type of book?
  • Oh yeah! Total Money Makeover 2014 is now available in the library! 
  • Why did Michael Crichton die?
  • Andy Whitfield's death
  • The same people who I always see running in the weekends runs everyday,too! And man, why are they kind of old? If baby boomers can run everyday, millenials surely can! 
  • I'm getting bored with my running playlist
  • Is it normal for a 28-years-old to have gray hair?
  • Since I quit working, my breakouts suddenly cleared up. My friend was right, it was because of stress.
  • I always wake up around 5:30. I wish I can sleep in. I wish I am a night owl instead of considering 9:00 pm a bedtime and declaring 11:00pm as "insomnia phase". Tumatanda na, I know. But on second thought, I've always been a morning person and I'm cool with that.
  • Excited for the last Hobbit movie though I am sad that the LOTR is really over. I bet the actors who have been filming all through out these years are sad too. Imagine all the relationships/friendships formed because of over a decade of filming.

  • To buy or not to buy a B&w hard case suitcase for Red?

  • I have a vampire-like teeth. My fangs  are kind of sharp. You think I can do something about it? Sand it perhaps? 

  • It's better to read young adult fiction books than not to read at all. No shame on admitting  that I sometimes indulge in young adult fiction books.

  • Man, I always marvel on people who can read in a moving vehicle. I can never do that no matter how I try.

  • Quiet honestly, I'm so tired of answering "Bakit ka pa uuwi?" I'm tempted to direct them to my blog every time I hear that question being thrown at me

  •  Why do most Filipinos think that marrying a 'kano means you are automatically rich? Geeez woman, can't we work hard for our own money and not rely on men to provide for us? Let's not continually give Filipina women a bad name. No offense to those who married a 'kano though, I know that there are true love stories out there between a 'kano and a pinay.
  • I already printed the e-ticket. My first thought: "Wala namang ka sosyal sosyal 'tong e-ticket!" I am being old-school, I know.

  • Instead of marking off days on a calendar, why don't I enjoy my last few weeks here?