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Life Notes

Buh Bye City Girl… Hello Suburbs

It has been awhile when I posted something on this blog. Yes, another long hiatus. A lot of stuff happened that lead to dry skin, stressed out bones, and bouts of minor migraines, but I survived all that since a dream milestone was achieved by my husband and I.

We got ourselves our own home.

2016 citadel home

It isn’t anything grand but it’s the right size and comfort for a starter family. It has been a month since we moved from Downtown Calgary and we’re enjoying the quiet, suburban way of living.

Of course, I couldn’t just let go of thoughts I wished I were still living in Downtown, where everything is a stone’s throw away for convenience. I needed something for dinner, I just cross the street to buy at the grocery. I needed some work supplies, Staples is a few blocks away. I have a craving for shopping, the Mall is walking distance, or I could take the free train. Muscle pains? My favorite Osteopathy center is nearby. Wine? Well, I could skip in glee for its near distance. Now, a car is necessary to get anywhere or you could wait for a long time for the bus.

It is possible my upbringing contributed to my city living urges. All my life, I lived in a city. Back in my homeland, I lived near Makati’s Central Business District (CBD), which encompasses high-rise buildings, multitudes of malls, traffic-driven streets, noise and smoke pollution, you name it Makati has it. It’s the perfect example of metropolitan way of living. Noise, lights, parties, gossiping neighbors, annoying midnight karaokes, street dogs and cats, garage sales here and there, etc. And yet it is a place I call home.

Then I flew to Calgary and I settled into Downtown. Though it is considered the “city” and business zone of the province, it holds a slow-paced atmosphere compared to the metropolitan lifestyle of cities like Makati (Philippines), or Toronto (Canada).

But the one thing I truly miss in Downtown living are the restaurants that are in every nook and corner. Japanese, Indian, Greek, Lebanese, Thai, Latin, you name they got it. The Downtown lives up to the Canadian definition of being “the country of immigrants”. Regardless of where you came from, there is a 90% chance you will find a place to eat that will remind you of home.

So two weeks prior to moving, my husband and I decided we will try restaurants we haven’t eaten in. It felt like a “despedida” to the place we lived in together for the first few years as a married couple. It is the place where we learned to adapt to each other’s personality, where we started working for our dreams, where we experienced things we didn’t get to experience in our homeland.

Fast forward to a month, I’m now blogging in an all-white painted masters bedroom while my husband is awaiting a Skype call in our work room. Watching the tree sway outside the master’s bedroom window, I feel content with the quiet atmosphere our current community has. Trees line the cul-de-sac, rabbits abound almost everywhere and settles under our tree almost every other day, the neighbors are friendly, and the only possible noise you might get annoyed from is the sound of somebody mowing the lawn. All in all, it’s pretty nice.

The only downside would be that restaurants aren’t as near as I would like them to be. But hey, nobody has it all right? Recently, my husband and I decided that one of the best ways to get acquainted with our new community is to weekly try a new place to eat. As of date, we have been to several restaurants, which I am going to share in another blog post. What can I say, for me, food is a motivating factor in exploring a place.

Well, that’s all for now. Await my next posts on restaurants we’ve been to prior and after moving to our new home. Cheers!

Life Notes

It’s time to Man Up Pinoys, Duterte isn’t our Savior

Never in my life did I stay tuned on Philippines elections.

I never missed voting during the elections. It was the Filipino duty that my dad made sure my sister and I exercised at all costs. Even during the times I told him there wasn’t any candidate that peaked my interest, he would wake my sister and me early in order to go to the precinct and have our finger inked for candidates I didn’t felt strongly about. Afterward, we would take our time eating quail eggs from a nearby sari-sari store while chatting with neighbors amidst a very busy street strewn over with candidates’ pamphlets. Those were the times. 

Just when I learned about Miriam Defensor Santiago and Rodrigo Duterte both running for the presidency, I wasn’t in my country anymore to cast my vote and it was too late when I learned could actually do it from Calgary since I’m still not a Canadian citizen.  Never had I followed the elections as closely as I did with this one not merely for the sake of supporting these two candidates, but for the hope I felt was coming from the Filipinos.

Once upon a time, I was a contented Filipino. I wasn’t rich but I had a stable job. I have enough friends. I took care of my family. I was aware of the graft and corruption. I was paranoid whenever I have to go home late at night from a place I don’t know. I dislike the inefficiency of public service. I abhor the traffic, especially during the monsoon. The ever increasing cost of goods I was able to manage. I tried my best to stay away from public smoking areas and garbage was strewn everywhere. I learned to ignore catcalls and to walk really fast when commuting home from work. I survived all of those. If there is one trait that Filipinos can be proud of, it’s our resiliency to adapt despite any obstacles that came our way even when we felt downtrodden and forsaken by our previous leaders.

Then I came to live in Canada. For the more than two years I’ve spent here, I came to realize why a lot of Filipinos, especially those living and working abroad, chose Duterte. It isn’t because he was a breath of fresh air. Whether you liked him or not, he inspired to change from being the way he is… a bit vulgar, crass, but an honest thug. He vocalized in layman’s terms the illnesses of the society. He displayed humbleness and tact. He didn’t sugar coat his words. He knows what he is saying. He knows what he I doing. He is the leader all OFWs want to have in order to come back to a country that can potentially be at par with Singapore and other first world countries. Filipino living abroad has seen what discipline can do for a country and that is what the Philippines need. Discipline. We had exercised Democracy for as long as we can remember. Though Democracy has its merits, our current government and society have shown  what lack of Discipline can do. Fear, dishonesty, and chaos.

We can’t expect things change to happen overnight, but we need that leader to inspire that change. Duterte is a leader and a father waiting for a chance to spank us hard on the bum.

And boy, will we be spanked on the bum. Many Filipinos had gotten used to working with loopholes to get what they want. Kung makakalusot, edi gawin. I’m not only talking about people in politics. This is for people in general.

There was a time I was strolling  at SM Makati when I heard a man, who looked like to be in his seniors, shouting obscenities at the security guard, saying he had all the right to smoke wherever he wanted since he is paying his taxes and is a resident of Makati. The guard was telling the man they were on a No Smoking area. The guard’s face showed he was clearly at a loss to fix the situation without offending an elderly. When I passed by them, I turned my head to the side and saw in clear, in bold red letters, a No Smoking sign. Clear as day. The blind may have seen it.  This is a simple example of how something has gotten used to doing things they want disregarding law and authority. I felt so sorry for the guard.

I’m not saying the Filipinos are solely the ones at fault. We learned to survive amidst corrupt leaders. Our poverty stricken fellowmen, who pursued illegal means to survive, only did what they can to put food on their table. But the degradation has gone for too long. Everyone, from every level of the society, has felt the deterioration of the Filipino spirit.

But the 2016 elections turned all that around.


The leader is in place. Duterte is already there to be a strict father and instill discipline. Filipinos must follow. Let go of destructive habits. Learn to follow rules. Respect authority. Don’t make excuses. I’m not saying Duterte is the Philippines’ savior, but he is a prepared to instill discipline the country desperately needs. Let’s give him and ourselves, a chance. We might rebel for awhile since we are human after all. We are creatures of habit. We don’t want our routine to be ruined. But change does that, even those driven by good intentions.

I’m not openly saying this just because I live in Calgary. My husband and I have plans to go back to the Philippines since our families and closest friends are there. Our hearts still call for our country to prosper. We want the best for our fellowmen and we want to come back to a safe and rich country.

God bless the Philippines.

Life Notes

Emilie-Claire Barow & Matt Dusk: My Soulful Jazz Lullabies

I’m still having a hangover… over jazz.

We almost missed the Emilie-Claire Barlow and Matt Dusk concert yesterday. It wasn’t because we were late. In fact we were early. Too early that I opted to order 2 sparkling wines just so I could feel my hubby and I were doing something else other than checking our mobiles and taking selfies. 

What made us almost miss the concert was us hesitating to go outside because of the dreary, chilly weather. It was gloomy and roads were slippery. It wasn’t a night anybody woud like to be in. Given my body has the tendency to tense too much in this conditions, I almost called it a night.

But everytime my husband teasingly asked me if we were to push through with our plans, I remembered the last time I went anywhere near a live jazz performance was more than a decade ago. I was in a jazz lounge in my hometown for a work-related meeting. So instead of lounging in a comfortabe chair holding a glass of wine while listening to the sultry voice of the lounge singer, I was taking down notes and addressing concerns of CEO’s and marketing officers. Meh.

So despite the weather, I squirmed myself out of the warm comforter to brave the weather. We opted to ride the train since the concert hall was near our place and we didn’t need to bother for a parking space. 

Boy am I glad we went. Everything was perfect, I’m still drunk with jazz hangover.

Emilie-Claire Barlow is a Juno award-winner singer, with 10 albums to date that are inclusive of daring and exhilirating take on 60’s pop music, French chansons, and others. She later on joined the stage with Matt Dusk, who recently got his 5th album out titled My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook.

Emilie-Claire Brown & Matt Dusk on stage

I am no musician nor do I have the musical background to understand technicalities of a perfect musical score, but I cleary remember closing my eyes, not to fall asleep, but to feel the vibrations and embrace of each sound tha reverberated within the concert hall. There wasn’t a performance I didn’t bob my head in time with the beat. One time Matt Dusk had the microphone killed and sang just to show everyone how wonderful the concert hall is. When he sang, his warm voice still carried clearly across the hall. That moment was so simple  yet raw, I felt a thrill just watching him perform. His comedic speeches were precious too. Together with Emilie-Claire, they made a perfect combination of musical talent nobody can help but fall in love with them.

On our way home, my husband and I were humming to some of the tunes from the concert. We were obviously immensely affected by these two (2) awesome jazz artists. They may not be popular in the mainstream market, but they definitely are stars in their own right. We’re actually researching their album right now in iTunes and I’m currently melting hearing Matt Dusk’s voice belting out My Funny Valentine. 

To Emilie-Claire Barlow and Matt Dusk, you two are now my favorite voices of soulful jazz lullaby. 

Life Notes

My First Canada Day and Good Earth Cafe

My day started with my husband and I had our run at Prince’s Park. Despite the cold winds, we were pumped up by the promise of the holiday of bonding and complete relaxation.

Watching the river flow.

As usual, we enjoyed the scenery despite being there before. You cannot have enough of nature I think. Trees always has the way of making you feel calm and energized. Plus, the river is nearby. It was mesmerizing just watching it flow.

My hubby by the Indian looking huts

We discovered teepees set-up in the park grounds. They were for a celebration or some event later in the day .

Good Earth at 11th Avenue SW Calgary

After our run, we had our breakfast at a nearby cafe called Good Earth. I liked how this branch was set-up not inside of an office building. It was on its own, beside a nearby park. It doesn’t have that too busy, face-paced feel compared to those cafes found in office buildings. I consider this the type of cafe I would like to bring my laptop to and work in all day long.

Interior of Good Earth Coffeehouse

As with other cafes, the interiors showcased delectable breads on displays. Wooden floors and walls gave everything the usual cafe earthy feel, plus the chill music moderates any frazzled soul. Since we just came from a run, the place indeed calmed us down.

Good Earth Coffees and Bread Panini

We ordered a small cup of Cappuccino, and a small cup of Cafe Mocha with whipped cream and chocolate. Each were flavorful and hot enough we could immediately take a sip without being burned.

The bread panini we adored. The bread buns looked grilled but it has no burned aftertaste. Its texture was crunchy and firm to hold the generous portion of compact scrambled egg, fresh tomato and ham. It tasted very healthy and organic. I wanted another one but one order already made me full.

The rest of the day, we spent watching the World Cup, watched a couple of movie and chilled out for the rest of the day.

Hail to Canada Day!

Life Notes

Prince’s Island Park journey

Last weekend, I got my first taste of roaming a park here in Calgary in good weather. A bit cold compared to the sweltering humidity my homeland has during summer months, but I loved it nonetheless.

My hubby and I had our first run together in the park. We didn’t do the planned heart-pumping sprints to get back into shape especially since I couldn’t help myself but stop and take random shots of anything with my iPod.

Prince’s Island Park has become my haven. For me, its 20 hectares of beauty, some part landscaped, the others untouched… the whole island a calling haven for the restless soul. This is a location I undeniably need for these past months.

We didn’t get to explore the whole island but I am excited to see more of it this coming weekend. The bridges, the river, the geese, the sculptures, I want to see it all. Heck, if it was possible, I would like to have my work table placed smacked right in the middle of it.

Below are shots I took in my iPod.

Prince's Island Park sunny day

I love this ‘tree-lined pavements with a tree-arch at the end’ kind of shots. Such imageries always calls for a shot. A perfect natural rendition of ‘hope or light at the end of the tunnel’ metaphor.

Friendly birds in the park.

This picture of birds was an accidental output for taking a shot from afar using an iPod. Couldn’t get near the birds or I might had spooked them. Yet, the slight pixelation, softened edges, gave the image of a watercolor look into it.

Lamps to light the trails at dusk and evening.

Beautiful trees abound everywhere. You can have a picnic under them.

One of the

A small stone showing art areas in the island park.

Prince’s Island Park pays tribute to works of art scattered in the island.

Almost a Japanese rock garden with a mini bridge in the background.

One of the wide open spaces for leisure walking.

One of the walkways in the park.

A shot of the river.

This arch reminds of the famous Paris arch. Hope to get there someday.

I can’t wait to go back this weekend. I want to see more. I need to be there. Mother nature calls to me. 🙂

Life Notes

My Cinemagraphs

Louvre Cinemagraph

I’ve been wanting to make my own cinemagraphs for a long time.

Finally, I did it!

Louvre cinemagraph
Frying Egg Cinemagraph
Frying Egg Cinemagraph
A cinemagraph moment of my feet and my flipping a cookbook.
Flipping a cookbook

What do you think of my first cinemagraphs? Any suggestions of what I can do in the future?