As much as I wanted to do meal preps every weekend so that Poch and I could start eating healthier, the reality is that our weekends are just as hectic as weekdays. They’re filled with errands, family obligations, and the like, so we barely get to just stay home and cook.
So, as mentioned in a previous post, we started subscribing meal delivery plans to jumpstart our attempt at a healthier eating. And after a couple of tries, we found one that not only met our needs to eat healthy, but also offered delicious meals that we truly enjoyed!
Indeed, there is beauty in simplicity, but it has never been so apparent to me than in the last five days I spent in Siargao. This captivating remote island is bereft of materilisim, commercialism, and pretense. And while Instagram has painted a pretty reputation for Siargao, this no-filter-needed beach is actually a very modest, unassuming place that perfectly epitomizes simple island living.
At the brink of dawn
The silence stares at me
Challenging my patience
Not yet, she says
For you are restless
You feel uneasy
Surrender to the stillness
Listen to the rising sun
And find peace in what will be done
All in due time
Only He knows when
The last time I was in Coron was in 2008, over ten years ago. That time, Coron was not that popular. We arrived via a ship that took us first to Bohol then Boracay, with Coron as the culminating destination. My fond memories of that trip included a beautiful set of islands, untouched and absolutely breathtaking.
Coming back was something I had looked forward to because one, I love the beach and couldn’t wait to be reunited with the sea. And two, Coron was one of the locations at the top of my list of favorite beaches. Pocholo and I had been eyeing it for some time but had never been able to actually book a trip. Luckily, the Perreras family decided that this year’s annual trip would be in Coron–finally, it happened!
Tell me, what is it about you?
Is it the way you whisper to me in my dreams?
Is it the way you are able to calm my depths?
When I found out that we were going to hike up Mt. Sinai during our Holy Land tour, I was undeniably ecstatic. I knew this was something I would probably never be able to do again! Mt. Sinai was where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It was definitely a valuable historical and religious site that I wanted to go to.
We were briefed about the trip before the tour group flew out from Manila, and I have to admit, after all the advice and precautionary tips mentioned, climbing up this mountain started to feel very daunting–most especially because I’m not a regular hiker.
Here are some of the things they mentioned.
- It takes a total of nine hours to climb–this is the average for beginners or non-hikers.
- There are no decent toilets.
- There are a total of seven pit stops going up where people who feel like they can no longer hike can rest and wait until the group passes for them on the way down. (You can’t go down on your own, for safety reasons.)
- Each pit stop serves coffee, hot chocolate, and snacks, so the group can always take a break there as well before resuming the climb.
- There’s an option to ride a camel for about 3/4 of the journey, but the last leg consists of 750 steps up to the peak. Camels are no longer allowed up this last leg.
- If any of us lived a sedentary life, our tour organizers highly recommended that we start exercising and getting our bodies physically prepared.
I wasn’t completely inactive, so I prepared by mainly altering my workout making sure I included leg strengthening and stamina building. I did a lot of squats, lunges, weighted step-ups, and running. I also bought entry level hiking shoes for better grip and compression leggings to help with the cold weather.
When the year began, I was determined to start eating healthier. For years, I have been able to incorporate working out into my lifestyle, but somehow, I had never been able to eat healthy.
One, I don’t enjoy cooking, so I naturally will go for what is convenient if there’s no food at home–fast food more often than not. I also never really watched out for the amount of sweets I ate even if I knew sugar is the culprit for many diseases that show up later on in life. It has been a few months since I started making some effort to correct this, and through small, gradual adjustments and being mindful of my body’s needs, I have been able to sustain small changes that have led to positive impacts on my overall eating habits. Allow me to share them with you.
(1) Becoming a Cold Brew Coffee Convert
Before: My regular order used to be an iced caramel macchiato.
Now: I drink cold brew coffee.
I liked my coffee milky and sweet. I liked caramel. But, I realized how much sugar intake this equated to. Initially, didn’t like black coffee, so I first switched to iced lattes with less sugar. Eventually, I was able to transition to drinking iced lattes without sugar. Then I discovered cold brew. My first introduction to cold brew came when I tried the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew from Starbucks–I loved it! But since I needed to be more realistic with my expenses, I decided to try buying cold brew concentrate from Type A, and Slurp. I would order in bulk and and just prepare my own coffee at home. It turned out to be the best thing ever! I now drink coffee sans the milk and sugar.
There she was sitting at the cobblestone steps,
Familiar but foreign.
When was the last time she was here?
The creak of the door and approaching footsteps.
That smile. A smile that she hadn’t seen in so long.
After all these years,
It still had that warmth, that tenderness,
That silent beckoning whisper to come closer.
Welling up inside, pounding chest,
Into those arms that opened to her.
Some things really will always be.
She was home.
I find it very hard to put into words what this trip was like. Whenever people ask me about it, I say it was an eye-opening experience, but I always find myself short of words, unable to fully express what the trip really meant to me. And though words may never be enough, I will now narrate, to the best of my abilities, what transpired during our two-week long journey to Jordan, Israel, and Egypt. Such a trip is definitely worth sharing with all of you. Here goes.
Jordan was our first stop and I came to Jordan with zero expectations, not because of disinterest, but because of lack of knowledge about the country. I was not aware that this place had a lot to offer. I only had Petra in mind as a place to look forward to, but I was proven wrong the moment we alighted from the plane and headed to our first two stops, Madaba and Mt. Nebo.
St. George’s Church
Mosaic at St. George’s Church