All This COVID

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the entire world are under attack by this virus. Nations big and small, wealthy and not, fighting their own battles.

In the most broadcasted countries, you can see how much different cultures are. How different people are. We’re in Australia where our state is implementing a lockdown of sorts, with only four reasons to go out:

  • Shop for essentials
  • Exercise
  • Compassionate purpose
  • Work/study if this cannot be done from home

I am still working on some days and I have noticed how significantly people are not home. The roads are decongested, streets are quiet and even pollution has subsided. While good effects, my heart goes out to all people who have lost their jobs and are in a difficult time right now.

Our families on the other hand are back in the Philippines where an extended community quarantine is on. The ‘ECQ’ if I understand it correctly, actually limits the people out of the house to one per household. Schools and offices are mostly closed, inter-city travels banned with checkpoints and needing proof for any good reason to be even considered to cross these borders.

It sounds like a lot more intense but honestly we can’t help but wonder why it’s not working. One morning, my husband asked me what I thought of what’s happening in Manila.

Why are some people not following? Why are people all complaining politics on Facebook? Why this, why that? How is Vico doing that, why can’t we see others follow suit?

See, I’m not ever interested in politics and truth be told I have long lost faith in Philippine politics. But here were my thoughts:

  • Filipinos don’t trust the government. At all. And you can’t blame the countrymen. Years and years of corruption, leaders going astray and scandals. Nobody actually believes (regardless of who is in power) that there are true leaders who think of the country’s good and not his own.
  • President Duterte may possibly have good intentions at some point, but the cascading of the game plan isn’t well-executed and most likely there are so many hands dipping into any well-meaning resolutions.
  • Empty words. We all know this too well. Campaign slogans and speeches all too good to be true, because it is.
  • The Philippines cannot to look after everyone. This is where the poor class vs middle class saga came from. Why always send help to the poor when the middle class is also in hardship? The country cannot afford it. The country cannot give due fairness to all. Also, the biggest voting social class are the lower class, that can also play a part.
  • There is a disconnect between the rich and the poor, the lowly and the powerful. The rich and powerful will almost always get away with things–just like health workers needing to test asymptotic public officials in the comfort of their homes, ahead of others.

There is no quick solution. Changing the president regardless of how good anyone can be will not have the massive effect if we don’t ‘detoxify’ the entire system.

Unfortunately, that takes guts, hardwork, and more changes from the ground up. I have seen many writeups about Vico Sotto; while I personally don’t know if he’s corrupt or anything, he is restoring faith in his people. If more politicians take the same stance, we can start the change from our own city, and influence the higher ‘management’.

Governments need not have likeable politicians. All a country needs is a government that people believe in. That the government will have the people’s best interest in every decision they make, regardless of how awful it’s being presented, how differently views and choice of words may be.

Easier said than done.

Hello from Melbourne

Hello from Melbourne

We moved to Melbourne.

I skipped two months of blogging because 1) we got our visas, and 2) my husband got a job offer in just a week after. We had six weeks to pack up our life in the Philippines–our 30-something years’ worth of ‘life’.

On my bucket list, an item reads: Live in a different country for at least a year. I’ve crossed it off before thinking living in a hotel in Seoul for three years would count, even though I get another room on a different floor every time I come back exhausted from a flight.

Six weeks was barely enough time to get excited. In fact, I think we didn’t get excited until we’re at the airport. My slightly OC mental task list was legit on a roll from the moment the alarm goes off. I had a Google spreadsheet of the tasks categorised and organised per week! (Trying to get used to spelling in Australian English, ICYDN.)

It’s now been a month since we left Manila, and we’ve just moved to our own apartment. (Nobody told me it was too tedious to do that here!) We’re happily surviving winter, and of course I am too eager to complete my small kitchen for my next kitchen adventures. It’s time to learn how to be less Asian now (in terms of cooking) and make do with what is more common in the market.

Excuse me while I resume cutting cardboard boxes so it could fit the recycling bins.

Becoming Plastic-Conscious

Becoming Plastic-Conscious

It’s Earth day today. And while I haven’t been writing much on the blog lately, I think it’s time to start my delayed posts about Earth Love. I’m dedicating a category for this.

If you don’t know, or you don’t see my earth- plastic-free- related posts on instagram, I’m also an advocate of a plastic-free life, and I encourage refusing single use plastics. While I’m not yet at the 100% of a zero-waste life, I’m working on it. My journey towards minimalism has enabled me (us) to focus more on what matters to ourselves, our values.

One thing I know: I hate litter. But regardless if I throw my garbage into proper disposals, the world still gets polluted by the minute. In this short post, I share how I became plastic-conscious. Continue reading “Becoming Plastic-Conscious”



Did you know that the famous Filipino term tapsi / tapsilog pertaining to tapa+ sinangag+ itlog was coined by GoodAh!!!? (Tapsilog is cured meat+fried rice+egg.)

Nostalgia hits (at least anybody around my age or older) when you see GoodAh!!!. I remember when I was younger and way too eager to learn how to swim, our parents would take us to Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City, and that swim sesh was always followed by a ‘refueling’ meal at GoodAh!!! (Gosh those three exclamation points, though!)

If there was anything it was good at besides their tapsilog, it was marketing. Almost anyone who’s ever been to GoodAh!!! will remember it is “Open 25 hours,” and that they serve food that is “Good for every-all.” These lines, these double-take worthy lines.  Continue reading “GoodAh!!!”

Toby’s Estate Philippines

Toby’s Estate Philippines

Despite numerous coffee shops sprouting at almost every other corner in Manila, most of the time my palate is unsatisfied. I still prefer coffee we make in the morning, usually drip, sometimes aero-pressed. Coffee for me is not sour, as with most blonde roasted cups served in a lot of third-wave coffee shops nowadays.

When Toby’s Estate launched in the Philippines, I honestly pre-judged it as something like Starbucks or CBTL – you know, places where people don’t actually enjoy just plain coffee. The concoctions mattered more than the coffee itself. One evening, we were walking down the High Street area and thought we could sit down and read our books. We decided to try the Toby’s Estate branch at Shangri-La the Fort. Continue reading “Toby’s Estate Philippines”

Poutine PH Review

Poutine PH Review

One weekend, we were at my parents’ house in Navotas for Sunday lunch. My kuya (elder brother) kept talking about this new place they’ve ‘discovered’ in BF Homes, Paranaque.

The story goes that he saw a sign that said POUTINE and a delivery motorcycle outside an establishment. The small letters under the sign said FRIES • GRAVY • CHEESE.

“Outside, it looked like a meat shop,” he said of the unassuming, underwhelming place, and thought that maybe they’re a supplier of pre-cut fries, frozen gravy, and some cheese. Oh bless his heart, he had no idea what poutine was! Continue reading “Poutine PH Review”

My Filipino-Style Korean Beef Stew

My Filipino-Style Korean Beef Stew

Growing up, my mom’s only slow cooker recipe was Korean beef stew. It was sweet and there are cute sesame seeds floating on top. Falling off the bones tender, it was always a hit among my siblings and I.

Then in 2006, I went to Korea to become a flight attendant, knowing only one dish I could probably survive with. In a few weeks of training, I tried to learn the language to the best of my ability (well, I know how to read the characters) because it’s quite difficult to go out and just make assumptions about the food. I tracked down the beef stew which translated to 갈비찜 (gal-bi-jjim), but it was nowhere near what my mom cooked.

After a year with the airline–my tolerance for spicy food has become significantly higher–my parents were then eligible for free tickets. They decided to go to the US, but along the way–as any [Filipino] parent would–they planned to stop by Seoul for a few days and see what my overseas life was like.

Spicy food being unpopular in our household, I warned my parents that almost everything was spicy (except if they end up at an Italian restaurant or a bakery). My mom said, “Well, just tell me where to get Korean beef stew and I’ll be fine.”  Continue reading “My Filipino-Style Korean Beef Stew”