5 New Year’s Resolutions from 2019 I have successfully done

As we welcome 2020 and try to list some new year’s resolution, have you examined your previous list? Did you do great with you last year’s promises? Here are some of my last year’s new year’s resolution that I have done successfully:

1. Waking up early

It gives you more time to do other important task for the day. And aside from that you can avoid getting late to work or being stuck in the traffic.

2. Cooking and eating healthy foods

My packed lunch usually contained a cup of rice, 1 1/2 serving of vegetables with less to no oil and salt, meat or egg and a fruit. I am not a nutritionist or whatsoever but this habit prevented me from getting sick and allowed me to save more.

3. Sleeping on time

Since I started waking up early, I need to give my body time to heal and recharge from all the work and stress I got the whole day. I usually sleep between 10-11pm and wake up at 5-6 in the morning. (Excluding days that I went home super late because of work or party. LOL).

4. Working out

This is not the intense work out you are thinking. I just religiously jogged for an hour  once or twice a week in an oval near our place. I noticed how I maintained my weight and also I felt that my body got a little stronger compared before.

5. Spending less time scrolling through social media

I deactivated my facebook and twitter account and I don’t feel like I am missing out from the world. It just gave me more time to allocate to other important matters at hand.

 

Although there were days I was failing myself last with all my promises, I think I made improvements from the last 12 months of my life. I am a very undisciplined person but still I did it…little by little…day after day…so whoever you are thinking that you can’t, think again.

4 Healthy and Cheaper Alternative to Rice

Rice is a staple in most Asian countries. Don’t get me wrong, I love rice paired with my favorite adobo and sinigang. However, rice (white rice in particular) may not be appropriate in everyone’s diet especially to those diagnosed with diabetes.

For people thinking of quitting rice or want variety in their diet, here are 4 options to substitute to rice as source of carbohydrates. They are not just healthy, they are also relatively cheaper than rice and readily available not only in supermarkets but also in public markets.

1. Corn

Zea mays L. or we simply know as corn or maize belongs to Poaceae family. Yes. They belong to true grasses family. It takes 3-5 months before harvest. They are sold in the market as seeds, green corn (before physiological maturity, those corn ears sold as boiled in the market), grated (often used in soups) and grits (can be cooked and consumed like rice).

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A cup of boiled rice has around 200 calories while a cup of boiled corn has around 170 calories. Although rice has higher calorie content, boiled corn is of great advantage in terms of protein, fat, vitamins A, beta-carotene, E, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6 and B9. There is also higher mineral content in corn primarily Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium. Corn grits are long known staple in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao regions (no wonder why most Filipino boxers come from these areas).

Price: PhP 25-30/2pcs for boiled white corn; PhP 20-30/pc for boiled sweet corn; PhP 20-30 per ~250g; PhP 37-40/kg for corn grits;

2. Cassava

Cassava or Manihot esculenta Crantz can thrive to adverse conditions like drought and acidic soils. Harvesting can be done 7 to 10 months after planting. Fresh roots are not usually stored for too long as they can easily form bluish streak, they are usually sold per kilogram in the market.

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Cassava roots have a wide range of use such as food, feed and other industrial purposes. Boiled cassava root weighing 100 grams contains 112 calories coming mainly from carbs and small amount of protein and fat. Cassava also provides fiber and few vitamins and minerals. The root of cassava is gluten-free and is good for those people suffering from coeliac disease (gluten intolerance). Do not get alarmed by news of intoxication from cassava because hydrocyanic acid (toxic component of cassava) is highly volatile and can be removed easily through proper processing. There are also varieties with very low hydrocyanic acid available in the market. Make sure to look for Lakan and Rajah varieties.

Price: PhP 12-15/kg fresh root

3. Sweet potato

White potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) are from two different family, Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae, respectively. Starch of potatoes is stored in stems while in sweet potato it is formed in the root. The modified roots  are the commonly consumed plant part of sweet potatoes while others eat the leaves and stalks as vegetables. The roots are usually ready for harvest 3-4 months after planting.

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The root flesh can be orange, white, pink, violet or purple in color. It is rich in fiber, antioxidant and other nutrients. They can be eaten boiled, baked, steamed, or fried. Sweet potatoes have medium to high glycemic index which is unsuitable for diabetic people. A medium-sized sweet potato contains 27grams of carbs. It is a poor source of protein but an excellent food in terms of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.

Price: PhP 40/kg fresh roots

4. Saba banana

Banana is a general term for a number of species or hybrids under the genus Musa under the family Musaceae. Saba banana is a triploid hybreed of the seeded bananas Musa balbisiana and Musa acuminata. It is mainly utilized in cooking in the Philippines and other South Asian nations.

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Bananas are high in fiber but low in calorie. Consuming high amounts of fiber is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers. Saba banana has roughly 120 calories per fruit. They are composed of starchy carbohydrates and contain no fat or cholesterol. They also contain a rich blend of nutrients and vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A and iron.

Price: PhP 1-2/fruit

*price is based on the price in out market and can vary depending on location

 

 

 

9 Beautiful Provinces In The Philippines I Was Able To Visit For FREE Being An Agriculturist

Admit it. Traveling is costly. From plane fares, land travel expenses, boat rentals to entrance and environmental fees. Name it. Free lunch does not really exist when you travel. Been there done that. Fortunately, I found a job (as an AGRICULTURIST) that allowed me to go to 9 beautiful provinces in the Philippines for FREE. Here are those places:

1. Isabela

The province is the largest in Luzon and one of the top producing regions of corn in the Philippines . It is 7-10 hours away from the metro. Land trip could be tiring but you can opt to ride a plane.

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Would you believe that I was striking a pose on this hilly land planted with corn? Yep! At the back are corn plants nearing maturity.

What to expect: Large land areas planted with corn. Farmers usually plant hybrid corn, and they are sooo pretty they look like Bermuda grass from afar. Pansit dishes are a must try food here – do not forget to have a taste of pansit Cabagan and batil patung.

2. Benguet

A landlocked province of the Philippines at the southern tip of the Cordillera Administrative Region. Its huge production of vegetables makes it known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines. I super duper love the cold weather here!

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Who loves strawberry? I know you’ve tried strawberry picking and strawberry taho but have you tried extracting strawberry DNA using household materials? I did and it was dope!

What to expect: This place is a haven for frugal vegetarians. Due to its favourable weather condition for vegetables, there is abundant supply and therefore the price is relatively cheaper than in any supermarkets in Manila. Try to locate the public market in front of Benguet State University and you can get even more discounted veggies.

3. Albay

You probably had seen this view in one of your textbooks but seeing Mayon volcano live will leave you in awe. Albay is a province composed of 15 towns and 3 cities. It is located in south-eastern part of Luzon. This place is worth a visit! *wink*

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Pili nuts are famous as pasalubong in the province. Have you seen a fresh pili fruit? Imagine earth has core, mantle and crust, pili nuts or the kernels are the core covered with testa then comes the hard shell of it as the mantle and lastly the pulp as its crust. I tried eating boiled pili pulp dipped in salt from an agri fair held at Albay and it looks like it is a common thing.

What to expect: People are kind. Food tripping is relatively cheap. Gata or coconut milk is almost always part of their dishes. Few public vehicles (full packed jeepney rides during rush hour). Also, you can ride ATV at Cagsawa Ruins or eat sili/chili ice cream at Legazpi City.

4. Cebu

Cebu city is the oldest and the first capital of the Philippines. The province is located in Central Visayas and has its main island plus 167 islands and islets. Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to come to the Philippines in 1521, he planted a cross to signify an important event about the propagation of the Roman Catholic faith. The cross is now housed in a chapel at Magallanes Street.

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Cebu is also one of the leading corn-producing provinces in the Philippines. Corn milled into grits is a staple common in many households in Cebu. They substitute corn grits to rice. I tried cooking and eating corn grits and true enough, they are the perfect alternative to rice. Eating corn grits make you feel full faster and you won’t easily get hungry relative to rice. Perfect for those people cutting carbs/rice on their diet.

What to expect: Beautiful old churches and beaches you can visit. The city feels like Manila with relatively lesser people and vehicle well I guess because it is the second largest metropolitan area in the Philippines after Manila. Cebu’s dried mango has a distinct taste that will surely leave you craving for more and also let us not forget our dearest lechon. LOL.

5. Negros Occidental

Bacolod City or the city of smiles is the capital of the province. Negros Occidental is situated in the region of Western Visayas. It is the fourth largest island in the Philippines and second most populous province in Visayas after Cebu. The people there primarily speak Hiligaynon.

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The soil in Negros is basically volcanic making it ideal for agriculture. Around 80% of all arable land is cultivated in the island. If you happen to be sitting on the window seat, take a look outside before the plane lands and you will see large land areas planted with sugarcane which explains why it is known as the “sugarbowl of the Philippines”. Sugar industry is the main contributor to the economy of Negros Occidental producing around half of the country’s sugar.

What to expect: The strong sugar scent coming from sugarcane plantations early in the morning. Soft-spoken people. MassKara Festival every third week of October. Delicacies and pampasalubong with a touch of sugar of course such as piaya, biscocho, and pinasugbo. There are also grilling kiosks and restos everywhere – hello chicken inasal. Seafood is cheap in some areas and the oyster dipped in sinamak (vinegar with lots of spice) is bomb (ok, my mouth is watering rn).

6. Iloilo

Just like in Negros, people here or the Ilonggos are so malambing when they speak. They use three languages such as Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a and Capiznon. The province is situated in the Western Visayas part of the Philippines and occupies the central and eastern section of Panay island. Iloilo is known for its beautiful old world architecture – Spanish colonial churches are amongst the famous tourist sites.

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Iloilo City is the capital of the province and center for business, shopping, education, medical, real estate and many more. Due to its distance from the Visayan Sea, Iloilo has a strong fishing industry and a booming tourism industry. They produce a wide array of agricultural products like rice, corn, banana, pineapple and sugar among others as well as high-end crops.

What to expect: Bodies of water and therefore there is variety of fresh, delicious and cheap seafood. Hot and yummy batchoy which is best paired with pandesal or biscocho. Beautiful old churches. A few minutes boat ride from Jordan Port to Guimaras.

7. Zamboanga del Sur

Located in the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao, Zamboanga del sur covers a total area of 1,737.25 sq mi covering the southern part of the peninsula. The name Zamboanga came from the Malayan word “Jambangan” which means a place of flowers. The first settlers of the area were known as the Subanons or Subanens – meaning “river folksIMG_1083

The province excels in the field of agriculture, mining and fishing with agriculture being the major contributor to the province’s economy. The large agricultural land area of the province comprises of non-forested areas, areas for annual crops, fishponds, perennial crops, and grasslands.

What to expect: Chavacano-speaking people. Cheap imported goods. Stores selling malongs and jewelries. And last but definitely never the least…curacha!!!

8. Bukidnon

Another landlocked province – Bukidnon which means highlander or mountain dweller. This place occupies a wide plateau in the north central part of the island of Mindanao. Southern and eastern boundaries of the province are mountainous area. The picture below shows the Musuan Peak or Mt. Musuan near our field work.

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The province is the major producer of rice and corn and therefore it is considered as food basket of the region. There are also products from plantations such as pineapples, bananas and sugarcane. Majority of large firms operate processing and production of the above-mentioned crops. Bukidnon, being landlocked highly depend on nearby cities Cagayan de Oro and Davao for marine products.

What to expect: If you are traveling by land from Cagayan de Oro or Davao airport, buses stop at certain checkpoints – either for livestock quarantine or security purposes. During fruiting season (~September to November), you can enjoy fruits like durian, lanzones, mangosteen, pomelo and marang for a relatively cheaper price.

9. Sultan Kudarat

The province is located in the Soccskargen region in Mindanao. The name Sultan Kudarat came from its Muslim ruler Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarata who is considered a national hero.

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Agriculture is the predominant economy in the province. Some of the crops being cultivated in the province include rice, corn, coconut, mango and banana. Fruits are relatively cheap and fruit stands can easily be spotted on roadsides.

What to expect:  Mountain ranges. Muslim communities. Roundabout with a structure showing a crescent moon and a star (used to symbolise Islam). Despite all the bombing news about the province, I found the place generally peaceful with kind and helpful people.

 

Given the opportunity to travel for free, which province are you going to visit first?

 

A Quick Guide To Ukay-Ukay Hub in Tagaytay

Do you have thrift/ukay-ukay shopping plans? Why not try the Ukay-Ukay Hub in Tagaytay? Here’s a quick guide:

HOW TO GET THERE?
If you have a car, going to Tagaytay will be very easy. Just locate Fora Mall, park and you are ready to go.

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photo not mine. ctto.

For commuters coming from places near Los Baños, Laguna, here’s what we did: At Crossing, Calamba Public Market you can ride a van going directly to Tagaytay City Market. However, our visit was during a holiday and there were fewer vans going to Tagaytay so we opted to cut trips. First, we rode a jeepney bound to Balibago Complex, Sta. Rosa. At the back of Target Mall in Balibago, we rode a jeepney bound to Tagaytay. We dropped off at the terminal in Tagaytay City Fruit/Flower Market and wait for a jeepney with ‘Olivarez’ signboard (or if you are a group of 3-5, you can ride an e-trike). You can walk going to Ukay-Ukay Hub from Olivarez Plaza. The Ukay-Ukay Hub is just across Fora Mall.

For those coming from the city, as a promdi, I am not well versed on commuting from Metro Manila/Quezon City. Check this link (http://www.thejunction-tagaytay.com/how-to-get-to-tagaytay-by-commuting/) on how to go to Tagaytay and then once you are at Olivarez Plaza or Fora Mall, you are just a few meters away (or a less than 5-minute walk). Use your google map to easily locate the place.

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WHAT TO PREPARE?

Do not underestimate the small signage of the Ukay-Ukay Hub. This thrift shop is so massive you’ll probably be overwhelmed. Don’t panic. Here are some preparations you can do:

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Wear appropriate clothes. Wear the most comfortable shirt, pants and footwear. Remember, you will be searching from several racks and will be standing for too long so better gear up. It’s also better if you bring and wear a face mask (because as in every ukay-ukay, you can’t avoid dust which can trigger sneezing).

Note: The shop is not air-conditioned but it has a commendable ventilation.

Bring some extras. Extra clothes so that you can change when you got sweaty and kinda dusty after shopping. Extra water and snack for that hydration and energy you need while finding thrifted treasures. Extra ecobag because who knows how many pieces you’ll get, right? And extra patience since you will face a wide array of options.

WHAT TO EXPECT?

Upon entry you’ll find sea of clothes hanging on the racks. At first glance it looks small, but as you walk inside you’ll see how big this Ukay-Ukay store is. Relative to those individual Ukay-Ukay shops I tried in Baguio, Anonas, Laguna, and LRT stations this one is the biggest I’ve seen. And, I am guessing, 4 hours is not enough to browse everything in this shop if you are considering checking each piece in every rack.

Ukay-Ukay Hub basically sells preloved shirts, polos, pants, tokongs and shorts for men, women and kids (dominated by clothes for women). Aside from clothes, you can also spot areas for bags and shoes.

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Clothing racks near the entrance are the priciest while lowest ones are at the back. Front line clothes are new arrivals with FIXED price ranging from 100-500 pesos. There are several brands to expect like Uniqlo, Zara, G2000, Levi’s, Cotton On, and H&M (these are brands I personally spotted).

TIPS: Branded piece at low price is a good steal IF AND ONLY IF it fits your size, the style suits your liking, and it still has good quality (check for any damage or stain). Stop yourself from getting ukay-ukay clothes that do not fit you or have damage or permanent stains just because they are cheap and/or branded. Also, do not settle for those pricey branded pieces because you are defeating your purpose of Ukay-Ukay shopping. There are a lot other unbranded and good quality clothes, shoes and bags on sale which can still ‘spark joy’. JUST KEEP LOOKING.

As you dig deep in, you will find racks on sale. These racks are labeled with less PhP 20, 30% off, PhP 10 – 60 each and 4 – 5 pieces for PhP 100.

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TIP: Start your search from the back.

I hope this post will lead you to a sulit, comfortable and fun Ukay-Ukay Hub shopping experience. If you have extra time and budget you can shop for fruits and flowers at Tagaytay City Fruit/Flower Market or view the Taal volcano while dining or sipping coffee. Besides, you need to relax after hours of standing and looking for budget-friendly pieces to add to your wardrobe.

 
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10 picture perfect places in Taiwan you can visit for free

You heard it! Taiwan’s visa-free entry for Pinoys is extended! If you are on a tight budget but want some picture perfect location, try out these places!

1. Taoyuan International Airport

Upon arrival or before leaving the heart of Asia, stroll a little, they have a good airport with hidden spots to pose. Just like this TAIWAN signage spotted before going to immigration area.

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2. Golden Falls at Ruifang District

This falls can take your breath away. The place was formerly a copper mining site giving the rocks its golden color hence the name.

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3. Jiufen Old Street

The street looks ordinary at first glance but as you go along, you will realise that it has a mysteriously fascinating view. With some skill from your photographer and you as the subject, you can get the perfect angle.

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3. Shifen Old Street

It is the largest station on Pingxi Line. The railway is aesthetically pleasing and just perfect for your railway model shot. LOL.  The famous activity there is lantern lighting (1 lantern = NTD 180 with color to choose from), wherein you write your wishes on the lantern and release the lantern to the air. But, if you’re not fan of this activity, just be yourself – a photobomber. LOL.

IMG_8930Note: if you still have night markets to visit, do not buy yet your pampasalubong/souvenirs there, the price of goods is relatively higher here.

4. Rainbow Village

This is one of my favorite places when we visited Taiwan. Pretty walls everywhere and free entrance? Who wouldn’t love this village? It was created by a former soldier Huang Yung-Fu. The place is located in Nantun District, Taichung, Taiwan, 3-4 hours away from Taipei.

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5. Elephant Mountain

If you have no budget for Taipei 101 but want to have an overlooking view of the city, you can try hiking the Elephant mountain. The trail is not rough but it is a long and kinda tiring trek. You have to climb several steps to get to the top. Make sure to wear appropriate attire and bring extra clothes and water. Start trekking at around 4-5pm if you want to see the sunset. You can stay there until darkness engulf the city and see the lights slowly coming into life.

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6. Xinyi District

After seeing the lights from above (at Elephant mountain), admire them from below. City lights from above and below are just equally beautiful. Walk around Xinyi Distrit and make Taipei 101 your perfect backdrop.

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7. Night Markets

Shilin. Raohe. Huaxi. Name it. Taiwan has many night markets to offer. These markets are free of entrance. Just prepare your stomach and budget because there are a LOT of foods to try! And if you’re already full and the night is still long, why not spot places worthy as background? Like the structure I found in one of the night markets we visited.

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8. National Palace Museum

This place is located in Shilin District, Taipei. There is an entrance fee if you want to go inside the museum but it is free if you availed the Fun Pass. But do not get dismayed, there are so many locations outside the museum you can take your picture for free. Try out the architectural arch in front of the museum.

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9. Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

This is a famous landmark and tourist attraction built in memory of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, a former President of the Republic of China. The place is located in Zhongzheng District, Taiwan. Tip: get the whole picture of their pretty Paifang (Chinese gate) using the panorama mode of your camera/phone.

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10. Longshan Temple

Amazingly, this one stood for hundred of years already. It was built in 1738 and survived several natural disasters and wars. This is one of the largest and oldest temples in Taiwan. Entrance is free but donations to maintain the place is encouraged. Aside from this structure, there is also a mini falls on the side you can admire.

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Taiwan is a beautiful place you should put in your bucket list. You do not need to spend too much because there are a lot to see in this country that are pleasing to the eyes and to your (IG, FB, Twitter) feed.

The kind of love we deserve

LOVE. That’s it! All we need is love. Sounds cliché but in reality, all people need love because we are all created from love. Yes, all of us exist because of love.

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But, do we really know the meaning of love? We almost always lost for words to define what love is. During my teenage years, I always relied on what I saw on the books and what other people had said. But, to be honest, I really didn’t have an in depth understanding of love back then. I thought it was just an emotion felt by two people. Eventually, I realised that it is more than that. Love can be in different forms, it can be towards a person, dream, work or even material things.

They say love yourself first before loving anybody – I totally agree with this. But how can you apply self-love if you don’t even know what it is, right?

I used to ask myself why lovers break up, dreams don’t come true, workers quit their job and why some people become so broken or empty. And I am guessing it is because they have wrong connotation about love.

I bumped into a bible verse that changed my perspective towards love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

And regardless of your belief, I think this is the best definition of love and the kind of love we are all worthy – do not settle for anything less than what you deserve.

Choose the love that tolerates delay and have willingness to wait.

Choose the love that is governed by goodness.

Choose the love that knows contentment.

Choose the love that does not boast and is not proud of temporary things.

Choose the love that respects.

Choose the love that puts their good for your good.

Choose the love that is selfless and easily forgives.

Choose the love that does not delight in wickedness and is true and honest.

Lastly, choose the love that will make you feel safe, confident, faithful, and strong.