Grapefruit and Rosemary Foot Soak

 “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” –Kahlil Gibran

The last time I read about sprains, I learned that it takes four to six weeks to heal if it is a Grade 1 kind of sprain. It’s been about three weeks so I more or less have three more weeks to go. It sucks that I developed hip bursitis in the process that is why my entire right leg has been feeling weak and my knees about to buckle at any time.

After two PT sessions, I have regained a bit of my leg’s strength and I lost that disturbing (but not painful) feeling deep in my back and hip that caused me sleepless nights. It was a very uncomfortable, but not painful, feeling that irritated me at night because I didn’t know what to do with it. In a twist of events though, the muscles in my right leg have tightened so much that I now have spasms from hip to toes. I immediately went to my family’s ortho doctor and he gave me a different muscle relaxant to deal with the spasms.

Thankfully, I had to knee surgery to make the spasms really bad like what happened to my sister when she had her MPFL surgery back in 2014. To be fair, it wasn’t our ortho doctor’s fault because while he operated on her, it was the nerve block that caused my sister’s leg to spasm non-stop (unless we massaged the leg).

Note: I made this foot soak on the same day as the evening the spasms started.

If you read my Lavender and Peppermint Foot Soak post from last time, you would know that I enjoyed it greatly. I still do not know how epsom salt helps with sprains but just getting to soak my feet in warm water is so relaxing that I forget about my injury until I have to stand up. So, I decided to make another foot soak. This time, I wanted it pink!

The inspiration came from reading about Grapefruit Rosemary Bath Salt from Homey Oh My. Hers involved Himalayan pink salt which I did not have on hand. Plus, being very expensive, I did not feel like my feet deserved that luxury. So, just epsom salt it is.

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I should really take a pic of the baking soda next time…

Just like last time, 8 tbsps of epsom salt and 1 tbsp of baking soda. To that, I added 1/4 teaspoon of red liquid food coloring (with matching prayers that it won’t turn my feet red) and mixed them all together until the entire mixture looked a little more pink than Himalayan pink salt.

Now it makes me wonder if all the Himalayan Pink Salt products I see being sold everywhere are authentic or some of them were ordinary salt dyed pink.

Once mixed, I added a few drops of grapefruit essential oil and a quarter teaspoon of rosemary essential oil (bottle did not come with a dropper). It’s a little strong, to be honest, but my goal is to have the entire living room smelling like grapefruit and rosemary when I soak my foot in.

I remembered that we had dried rosemary in the house so I got half a tablespoon just to make this foot soak look all the more interesting. Also, I want to get antibacterial properties from the rosemary so I am hoping that with the hot water, it will be like tea but for my feet (and red).

There! My very own foot soak that is pink and girly like me, smelling wonderfully of grapefruit and rosemary. Citrus and minty scents really go together! Time to get soaking!

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What’s in a Name?

“If I’m gonna tell a real story, I’m gonna start with my name.” -Kendrick Lamar

It all started with an ultrasound. The doctor told my parents I might turn out to be a boy because my heart beat was very strong for a baby girl. My mom would not hear of it.

Praying to St. Clare, Mom promised to name me after her if I turned out to be a girl. She preferred prim and proper little ladies to little boys who might keep on running around and causing chaos. Well, the prayer worked! I turned out to be a baby girl.

On the day I was going to be born, the doctor who was in charge of the delivery was late. As a result, Mom had to be shot with anesthesia twice. While she was awake during my sister’s delivery via CS, she fell asleep during mine. Maybe something happened while she was asleep because what happened next was way out of the script.

Still groggy, the nurse insisted that my birth certificate should be filled out already so they can file or process it. Just to get it over with, Mom complied to the nurse’s insistence. But, instead of “Clare”, my birth certificate only showed “Monica.”

I used to envy my sister, Kristine Patricia. I felt she was more loved because she was given two names. Mom would jokingly tell me they gave me a single name because they did not want me to have a hard time in school because of having to write a long name. In reality though, I do have two names.

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My cake for my 1st birthday.

Nicole. Every year, all my birthday cakes always say “Happy Birthday Nicole!” It was supposed to be my second name that apparently was missed out.

I loved the name Nicole. After researching its meaning, I found out it was the feminine form of the Greek name Nikolaos and meant “victory of the people.” It sounded way more triumphant than the name Monica that came from the Greek word, monos, that means “alone.” In denial of how tragic the name sounded, I leaned more towards the other possible origin of the name. It was the Latin word, moneo, which means “advisor” or “counselor.”

Growing up, I never really liked the name Monica. Bullies would call me Moron-ica out of spite. They even made a jingle about me (using my name) saying that I will never be anything other than someone whose job is to pick bird dung in the farmlands. Being called Monica is like a trigger for that jingle to be played in my head.

27797394_585021098503734_5242885741389167017_o.jpgThat’s why I liked getting friends and family to make nicknames for me. Over the years, I have been called Monique, Nica, Monmon, Mony, Colein (jumbled letters from Nicole), Micole, Meika, and more recently, Mia. Despite my many names though, I have always remained the same.

IMG_0039They say that your name has power and some would even think it determines your destiny. Perhaps that’s true. Being an introvert, I saw how “Monica” meaning alone made sense. I can be very social but most of the time, I preferred being by myself. On the other hand, I do have a tendency to speak out in defense of others when I feel they are treated unfairly. Maybe it’s Nicole who takes charge in moments like that.

Regardless, no matter what my name should have been or could have been, the bullies from my childhood were wrong. I am not a moron and I am far from ending up as a dung picker.

I am now taking steps into having my birth certificate corrected to include the name Nicole. Whether that will do my destiny any better, I do not know. But, I do have high hopes for a good future.

Being Kind to Myself

“Be kind to yourself. Remember that when you abuse yourself, you will experience the anger, apathy, and regret of the bully as well as the depression, anxiety, and insecurity of the victim. Whatever you do, be kind to yourself.” -Vironika Tugaleva

I made quite a few blunders recently. They are not life threatening nor will they cause the business to shut down. These were very minor mistakes that everyone keeps telling me are okay because I am still a newbie, technically. Their reassurance made me feel a whole lot better but I admit that before being told it was going to be okay, I truly felt bad.

I realized that around me are people who as kinder to me than I am to myself. When I make mistakes, even minor ones, I feel so terrible already, like I want to press a restart button so I could do it all over again. I do not like letting people down or causing them inconvenience and embarrassment to the point that I make everything I do a big deal and take things a little too seriously.

I have come to realize that while I am quick to forgive others for their mistakes, I find it difficult to apply the same ease to myself. With myself, I am a perfectionist and unforgiving. I feel awful when I do not meet my expectations and those from other people. It’s like a voice in my head tells me I am such a disappointment.

If I were younger, I could probably blame it on the bullying I had to go through for most of my growing up years. I had to watch every move I made or every word I spoke for the fear of offending my bullies yet again. Those were terrible years of feeling I was and never will be good enough. All my faults and flaws were made even more obvious to my face and it made me feel helpless.

But, there are no bullies now. Around me are really awesome people who have been nothing but helpful and kind to me from the start. And if they can be forgiving with me for my mistakes, I should learn how to be that way to myself too. I cannot keep myself from reaching my goals and my discovering the extent of my potentials because of self-doubt from setbacks and shortcomings that I can still do something about.

I turned to my watercolors while I was trying to distract myself from the lingering awful feelings from my recent blunder. Watercolor painting is not something I am superb at but it helps me become calm and patient. It teaches me that the more I try to pack on paint while the paper is still wet only causes the colors to diffuse and can ruin the paper because of abuse. It teaches me that water is ever flowing and sometimes, I cannot control where it goes or how much the color bleeds because of it. And, it also teaches me to let my mind wander; to let go of control and just let everything flow as they wish to.

Being kinder to myself is something I want to work on myself for this year. I want to be better at handling my faults, mistakes and blunders. Of course, I shall strive very hard to do a great job every time but I will not allow myself to be discouraged when I stumble along the way.IMG_6090

Just Cooked: My Creamy Bacon and Mushroom Pasta

“Not only are pasta dishes delicious, but they are also great, easy options for a quick dinner during a busy weekday.” -Marcus Samuelsson

I recently made chocolate no-machine ice cream and it was a success! I have even used some of the ice cream to make chocolate milk shakes because summer is just so hot in the Philippines. Still left over from that attempt though was 550 ml of cream that I had nothing to use for because I was not planning to make more ice cream that would not fit my freezer anyway.

Because the cream I got is kinda a multi-purpose cream (whipping, pouring, cooking, etc. type), I decided to make my bacon and mushroom creamy past for dinner that night. This is my go-to pasta when I feel like eating pasta or have visitors coming over and we did not want to cook anything too complicated.

I am by no means a chef and my recipe was just based on what I think and taste is just right. I also do not know how to make this in a smaller batch because I have been used to always making this for at least five or more people.

Ingredients:

250 grams of honeycured bacon (or more! The more, the better!)

1 can of Campbell’s Classic Cream of Mushroom (I have never used anything else)

550 ml of cream (you may use full cream milk if you do not want it very thick)

1 bouillon chicken cube

1 small can of pieces and stems mushroom (add more if desired)

A pinch of salt

A dash of white pepper

A dash of garlic powder (I do not want real garlic in my pasta)

A dash of onion powder (I also do NOT want real onion in my pasta)

Dried basil and dried parsley (I used about a half to a full tablespoon of each, depending on my mood)

1/2 tablespoon of sugar

If I feel a little more indulgent, I also add bits of ham in.

I basically boil the bacon and then wait for it to fry in its own oil. Once crispy, I add in the mushrooms (drained) and add a dash of garlic and onion powders. I don’t let the mushrooms fry so much. I just allow it to cook with the bacon for a few minutes before going in with the cream of mushroom.

The cream of mushroom will be thick, at times like jelly. But, the heat will allow it to get to a runnier (but not too much) consistency. Then I add the cream, a pinch of salt, and a dash of white pepper. I let it simmer for a few minutes before adding in the bouillon chicken cube. I keep on stirring so my cream will not burn at the bottom of the pan.

I don’t let it get to a roaring boil but once it’s bubbling into a hard simmer, I add in the dried basil and dried parsley. I cannot have creamy pasta without basil! Once it’s gotten to a boil and the sauce has thickened to my desired consistency, I turn the heat off and move on to cooking the noodles.

I do not prefer mixing my cooked noodles in the sauce for some reason. I like to get some noodles on my plate and to pour sauce over it rather than getting them on my plate already combined. There’s something enjoyable for me about the pasta with the sauce and seeing the bits of cheese I earlier grated on top combine with the sauce and the noodles until I could not see or distinguish the cheese anymore. This evening though, I used store-bought Parmesan cheese.

So, there I have it. My favorite pasta. I am sure there are more delicious recipes out there but this is the first pasta I learned to do. Hence, it’s close to my heart.

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How do you like your pasta?

Just Whipped: Chocolate Ice Cream (No Machine)

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate.” – Thornton Wilder

Summer seems to be here in the Philippines! The sun’s hotter, there is not much rain, and the malls are now selling swimwear and sunscreen more than ever! It’s the season for buko juice, tan lines and ice cream!

I am not that into sweet foods but ice cream is something I have always loved. I got it from Mom. She can finish a pint in one sitting (we only have ice cream occasionally) and she taught me to sprinkle it with cornflakes to have something to bite into. Plain, smooth ice cream is not our thing. The chunkier, the better!

Despite my disappointment in my attempt with Gemma Stafford’s 3-ingredient coconut cookies (click here for blog post), I still think she has other lovely recipes up her sleeve. I saw her YouTube videos of no-machine ice cream using just whipping cream and condensed milk so I gave it a go. I found her recipe in her Bigger Bolder Baking blog and I decided to make a chocolate ice cream using her base.

I bought myself some whipping cream from Chocolate Lover‘s branch in Makati City as well as some small, white marshmallows. Then, I got myself some condensed milk, cocoa powder (transferred it into a jar already) and some mini chocolate chips.

I whipped up 2 cups of whipping cream until I reached stiff peaks.  It did not take long for the cream to get there.  Since I used a hand mixer for this one, I’d say about three minutes on high speed? I remember getting impatient because the cream was still too runny. I took my camera with one hand and turned it on and when I looked back, I had stiff peaks already!

Then, I added 14oz of condensed milk and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. I lightly mixed with a spatula first before going back with the hand mixer because I did not want to powder my face with the cocoa powder. I stopped as soon as it was well incorporated into the whipped cream. It looks a bit light in the picture because of the lighting in the room but it’s actually more chocolatey than that. Reminds me of Wendy’s chocolate frosty though.

Then, I folded in some chocolate chips and not-so mini marshmallows. We want our ice cream chunky!!!

I originally wanted to make chocolate rocky road ice cream but I did not have nuts on hand so I had to look for something else to put in. No matter what, the marshmallows had to go in! I love those stuff.

Once mixed well, I transferred them to these super cute can containers I also found in Chocolate Lover. So festive! I figured that the can would make it quicker for the ice cream to freeze.

After freezing them for more than six hours, ta-da!

The verdict? It’s yummy but too sweet for my liking. I should probably use just two-thirds of the amount of condensed milk. My taste buds have changed over the years and I cannot finish the amount of ice cream I used to eat in one sitting as a child. I did remember Gemma saying she used a fat-free type of condensed milk because it was not as sweet. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing here in the Philippines.

There I have it! My very own chocolate ice cream that I whipped up myself. It’s sweet, very rich, and really cooling for a hot summer day! I am not planning to eat a pint in one sitting though. Hahaha…

I want to try making strawberry ice cream next. What other flavors would be nice?

Britania Group of Islands, Surigao del Sur

In the municipality of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur is a group of untouched islands known as the Britania Group of Islands.

It’s so beautiful that it will like you’re in a paradise of your own!

Read about our Britania experience and other treasures of Surigao del Sur that we have visited here.

Doctors Who Care

I should not have hurried getting back on my feet. Instead of feeling useless, I should have enjoyed the chance to work from the comfort of my home after my sprain. Because I hurried getting back on my feet, my right leg muscles had to compensate, making sure to protect my feet from feeling pain when I walked.

I’m getting spasms in my right leg and toes now. Last night, a sharp pain was suddenly felt on the outer part of my knee up to its back. Because it hurt every time I walked, I decided to go see my ortho doctor first before resuming my PT.

This doctor has been my sister’s doctor ever since she was a teen because of her patella alta knee problem. I was supposed to see him last week but upon stepping inside the hospital, I got a text that his clinic was cancelled because of an emergency surgery. I am hoping that whoever he had to operate on is on his way to recovery. In the meantime, let’s call him Dr. R.

In December of 2014, Dr. R performed an MPFL reconstruction surgery on my sister’s right knee. It was a nightmare because a complication with the nerve block used (not the ortho’s fault) caused non-stop spasms on my sister’s operated leg. We stayed more than a month in the hospital which pretty much drained our savings. I saw how worried Dr. R was because my sister’s case was the first in his history of countless ortho surgeries of all kinds. But, supportive he remained.

In January of 2016, he performed another MPLF reconstruction surgery on her. This time for the left knee. They did not do nerve block this time and glad to say, we did not have the same leg spasm problem like in 2014. This was a relief for him and for us.

Ironically, the right knee is stronger and this second surgery was not as successful because the ligament involved has been overstretched by now. Maybe because my sister had more time for her right knee to recover. In August of 2016, my sister moved to Hong Kong and she had to do a lot of walking (Uber is very expensive in HK) to go to work and back to her home.

But during all my sister’s check up appointments, I saw how Dr. R reacted every time he would see my sister’s records on his desk. He would get out of his clinic to see my sister right away instead of just waiting for her to get inside the room. I saw how his expression gradually transitioned from truly worried (when she was having complications) to a more relaxed one every appointment we had.

This morning, I sat where I could see inside his clinic. His secretary brought my records in and discussed how my x-ray was at the other building and that I was supposed to see him last week, blah blah blah… He probably just saw my last name and the words “sprained ankle” and “knee pain” because I heard him say “ha?!” (which translates to “what?!”) immediately. I saw him get up and was about to step out his clinic but then, he saw me. He looked at my records again and realized it wasn’t the elder sister he was seeing today. He looked so relieved and told me to enter his clinic already. I teased him, saying, “you thought it was my sister, no?”

He told me to rest my leg and was glad I could work from home. He prescribed me a muscle relaxant to deal with the spasms but he was glad that my ankle had no more swelling and looked fine. I told him there’s still a little pain when you make me point my toes but he said it will heal in time.

He asked about my sister and my mom while writing my prescription. It’s the same medicine he gave me around eight years ago when I had reversed cervical lordosis (neck) and back pain, the same time we discovered I had very mild scoliosis.

A patient-doctor relationship is a special one. You do not entrust your health with just anyone. He’s been our doctor for more than ten years now. He’s never changed. And I’m happy to know that there are doctors like him who genuinely care and does not see his patients as mere source of income. May more doctors be like Dr. R.

Lavender and Peppermint Foot Soak

Who said tea is only for the tummy?

I am back with another DIY project. This time, it isn’t soap! I put my soapmaking supplies away first because I still have too many soaps from my past projects.

My ankle has not completely healed yet from my sprain. While it does not hurt anymore when I put weight on the foot, certain positions still cause shooting pain from my ankle and the inner arch of my foot. Researching online on how to help a sprained ankle heal led me to learning about epsom salt.

Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, is said to help reduce inflammation in the muscles. I am not sure how it works at all and if it’s proven but a nice and warm foot soak sounded like a good idea to me. Despite my ankle not being swollen anymore, my PT sessions still involve hot compresses and ultrasound therapy that both warm the affected areas. So I guess a warm foot soak would not hurt.

I searched for DIY recipes but I ended up using 8 tablespoons of epsom salt, 1 tablespoon of baking soda (to soften my dry, cracked heels that I peel when I am anxious), and peppermint tea leaves. I also added a few drops of lavender and peppermint essential oils for that refreshing scent.

I thought it was going to be easy looking for epsom salt but I actually had a hard time looking for it in drugstores, groceries or some spa and bath product boutiques in our malls. I had fo find it online through Shopee where I got my cute bottle with a wooden scooper to go. Argh! I am so in love with that bottle!

Anyway, I basically just mixed all the ingredients together until they resembled damp sand. The baking soda, being finer than the salt, had a tendency stay at the bottom of the mixture so I had to make sure everything was well blended and distributed all throughout.

I saved some to put in the basin to soak my feet in right away and poured the rest in the cute container I intended for it.

After pouring warm water and dissolving the foot soak, the entire house smelled really nicely of lavender and peppermint! I loved that combination!

I let my feet soak for about fifteen minutes until I felt that the heat from the water was already gone. The pain has not magically disappeared from my injured foot but at least the warmth from the soak helped relax it. My feet also felt a little bit of the cooling sensation from the peppermint essential oil after I lifted them from the basin. So refreshing!

I shall make more foot soaks using the rest of my essential oils at home. I’ll try to incorporate other ingredients too. I read that milk helps soften the skin.

Do you love foot soaks too? What’s your favorite scent?

Dumaguet-away! Our Adventures in the City of Gentle People

In July 2017, I got assigned to Dumaguete with Joan, Clare and Claud. I have talked about our Apo Island adventure (click to view separate post) but I was not able to share our experiences within the city, especially our food trips.

The first hotel we stayed in was Hotel Palwa where the rooms were big and spacious. We had a comfortable stay in this hotel and did not have any problems with cleanliness of the rooms or the quality of its services. The place was simple and affordable but did not have the amenities like those offered by more expensive hotels. Despite that, it was good enough for us since we were at work for most of the day anyway.

Our stay in Hotel Palwa was cut short since we had to move to another hotel. Thanks to corporate discounts, we got to transfer to Hotel Essencia without hurting our budget. This hotel was bigger (though our rooms were smaller) and had more amenities compared to Hotel Palwa. We loved their restaurant where we ate our supper when we were too tired to look for anywhere less expensive. It’s okay though because their restaurant served very delicious food in big servings.

Some of the hotel’s amenities include a spa and a souvenir shop. I was not able to visit and try the spa, much to my regret (I love massages) but I was able to go inside the souvenir shop. There were a lot of terribly cute items sold there but most of them were terribly expensive. We were saving up for our Apo Island trip so we did not spend much on souvenir items.

Dumaguete has many restaurants to choose from so you will not have to worry about looking for places to eat. Whether you are looking for Italian, American or our own Filipino cuisine, there will always be a place that offers food suited to your taste.

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Nachos for Php 90?! We loved the sour cream dip.

The first restaurant we went to was the Mooon Café at the Al Fresco of Robinson’s Place Dumaguete. 20121525_490279594644552_687941658717407036_oIt’s a Mexican-inspired restaurant so expect nachos, fajitas and quesadillas. The food serving was not too big but enough to be enjoyed with a friend. They also have a wide range of drinks that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. I was disappointed though that they did not have horchata—a drink made of rice, cinnamon and sometimes, vanilla.

Another restaurant we tried was CB City Burger. I have to admit that I was shocked with the menu of this food joint. For a place that states burger in its name, only one type of burger was sold.

The meals, most of which were rice meals, were very affordable and tasted okay. Perhaps my burger expectations were not met that’s why I did not enjoy our experience so much.

If you cannot decide among American, Italian and Filipino food, Café Mamia might be the place for you. The restaurant had all-day breakfast, salads, paninis and sandwiches, and pasta. I think I ordered Spanish Chorizo while the three other girls ordered pasta. Unfortunately, we were famished at that time because we were so busy with our audit. For that reason, we were not able to take pictures of our food before digging in.

On our first weekend, we went to Siliman University. My golly, the campus looked so peaceful! I started missing being a student and not worrying much about anything other than my grades. Oh, adulting, why must you be tough?

IMG_0127The university, despite not being in Manila, is one of the best universities in the Philippines. It was the first American University not only in the Philippines, but in Asia as well.  It was named after philanthropist Dr. Horace Brinsmade Silliman who provided the initial funding to start the school.

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The cutest thing about having Claud and Clare with you is that they can find spots that would make the perfect background for pictorials. Claud is very good at taking pictures and is very creative with the angles and poses of her subject.

I like taking photos of Clare because of her curly locks (we call her Goldilocks sometimes). Did you know that she can braid her hair without any elastic and the braids do not get unraveled?

I would have loved to go inside the chapel but it was closed when we visited. We had to content ourselves with just touring the grounds and just admiring the chapel from the outside. 19984190_490255464646965_7058336550053123096_o.jpg

After our Apo Island Trip the following day, we also had the chance to eat at Lab-as Seafood Restaurant at the boulevard. I took my antihistamine before eating so I can enjoy eating without worrying about allergies (damn my allergy to seafood!) afterwards.

The food was so delicious! We ordered Dumaguete express (it’s their seafood take on the Bicol express), garlic shrimps, sizzling pork, and sinigang. I still cannot believe how food could be so cheap but super delicious in Dumaguete! How could they keep their prices so low but still earn?!

Part of me felt guilty though for eating sea food when we just swam with fishes and turtles a few hours ago. Tsk…tsk…tsk…

Towards the end of our audit, we were stressed out because we kept on losing electricity. To aid Leyte after going through a deadly earthquake on July 6, 2017, neighboring provinces shared their supply of electricity. That meant rotational brownouts not just for Dumaguete. As noble as the purpose was, when your internet connection and your staff’s laptops are electricity-dependent, work is compromised. We could not extend our stay in Dumaguete because we had a training to attend in Manila as soon as we got back.

Despite the stress brought by our work, Gabby’s Bistro‘s very cute restaurant (the one along the boulevard) managed to take some of the stress away. The place looked like it was a Barbie film setting brought to life! Take out your cameras because the entire place is Instagram-worthy!

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The food they served were not bad either. I loved their calamares and mojos here. We had a great time just chatting and taking pictures of the restaurant, completely forgetting about work. Awesome people, good food and adorable surroundings make up a great evening!

If you ask me though what my favorite place we have gone to eat in was, it would definitely be Sans Rival Bistro. Not only were the food very affordable and delicious, the bistro sells the famous desserts in Dumaguete–sans rival and silvanas! We brought several boxes of them to bring home to Manila (must be placed in the freezer within 8 hours after purchase though).

Sans rival is a Filipino dessert made of layers of meringue, buttercream frosting and cashew nuts. The result is a sweet, chewy treat that truly is without rival! Its cookie version is the silvanas which come in the original and chocolate flavors. Whoever discovered these desserts, we love you guys!!!

Before flying home to Manila on our last day, we still had a few hours to visit one more site. We were able to check out Tierra Alta Residential Resort and saw the Greek-like wonder we have heard about.

Situated in Valencia, I believe it took us half an hour only to get there. Come to think of it though, it seems far already given that there’s not much heavy traffic in the area at that time. Apparently, thirty minutes of travel in Negros Oriental is equivalent to two hours of travel in Manila traffic.

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Left to right: Claud, Joan, Clare and me.

There was an event to be held that night in the resort and there were ongoing preparations when we got there. We paid Php 50/pax for the sightseeing and found that the price was cheap already for the beauty it had to offer.

We first went up the lighthouse before more people arrived hoping to get a 360-degree view of the compound. As beautiful as the view was, I hated the part when we had to go down because spiral staircases make me dizzy when descending. Something about my eyeglasses that I cannot explain.

While the area available for sightseeing was not too big, there was lots of spots to take pictures of all kinds imaginable (serious, wacky, candid, jump shots, etc.). Since we could not enjoy any of their facilities having only paid for sightseeing, we just took lots and lots of pictures of the place and of ourselves.

Remember what I said about Claud being good at taking photos? She’s actually quite a dedicated photographer (we call her services CPD Photography). Look how she does it:

If Claud likes taking the pictures, Joan loves posing for them. I was making silly faces while Joan’s “photo shoot” was on-going.

Claud is very good at taking pictures of people while posing. I have to admit I suck in that area. I think I am better at snapping candid shots.

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Claud and Clare posing while Joan takes their jump shot.

For some reason, Claud’s candid shots always turn out the best.

Our flight was delayed for more than four hours because of weather conditions in Manila. Still, we were thankful to have returned home safely. We returned with smiles on our faces, memories (and pictures) to share with friends, pasalubong for almost everyone, and extra weight on our hips because of all the food we have been eating.

Joan and I signed up for Guava Pass a few days later in an attempt to lose all those pounds we gained. Ha-ha-ha!